To save her land, Empress Medeoan imprisoned the legendary Firebird. Thirty years later, with Medeoan's death, the Firebird is freed and seeks horrific revenge on the land that imprisoned him. When the sorceress Bridget receives a vision that could help save her adopted homeland, her lover Sakra interprets one part to mean that Bridget's daughter is alive. Fearful that evil forces are drawing her away during Isvalta's time of need, Bridget nevertheless knows she must find the child she believed dead, and who is now a pawn in a power-mad ruler's dangerous game.

Third in a series after A Sorcerer's Treason and The Usurper's Crown, this conclusion to the Isvalta trilogy is intensely satisfying. Characters leap off the page with heart-wrenching emotions and daring choices. Zettel's world-building continues to be faultless, blending Chinese, Indian and Russian folklore and magic into a cohesive and compelling whole. Moving seamlessly between the shores of Lake Superior, the ethereal Land of Death and Spirit, and the courts and alleys of Isvalta and neighboring lands, this is the touching tale of a mother's love, a journey of self-discovery and an enthralling adventure rolled into one. (Aug., 416 pp., $27.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum