This is the third book in Butcher's Codex Alera series, and it's sure to delight fans with its fast-paced action, tightly woven plot and compelling characterization.

Tavi of Calderon, in service to the aging First Lord of Alera, has joined a newly formed legion under an assumed name to keep an eye on things. To his surprise, he finds himself in charge after the power-hungry High Lord of Kalare launches an attack that decimates the army's command structure, leaving no one else to lead the legion in the fight against the Kalare and the beast-like Canim.

The Countess Amara has been entrusted with rescuing various noble hostages from Kalare with her potentially untrustworthy ally, Lady Aquitaine. The very survival of Alera depends on the success of Amara and Tavi, and they both have no choice but to lead their people to victory. (Ace, Dec., 448 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs