An extremely enjoyable read, this is the latest volume in Brust's long-running Vlad Taltos series. As usual, the titular character is too clever for his own -- and everyone else's -- good. He stirs up trouble all over the place and generally makes a nuisance of himself. These are all good things, because in addition to being a pain in the butt, Vlad also makes a compelling narrator, and a great deal of the the fun of these books is seeing what he'll do next. The endnotes to this volume are also highly recommended.
Vlad Taltos, still hunted by House Jhereg and with a price on his head, has been avoiding the city of Adrilankha due to his general preference to stay alive. However, when he finds out that Aliera e'Kieron has been arrested on charges of practicing a forbidden type of sorcery, he has no choice but to return.
Aliera's arrest makes little sense. Everyone in Adrilankha -- including the Empress -- is aware of her predilection for this type of sorcery, so Vlad figures that there must be something else going on, and he's going to get to the bottom of it. Even with that price on his head. (TOR, Jan., 320 pp., $24.99)