Something about Cook--he just has a way of weaving a story that keeps me interested, even when I'm not altogether enjoying it. It can be difficult to read about desperate innkeepers, snitches needing to make a buck and a mercenary company, because none of the protagonists truly seem likeable. Cook builds both action and suspense, however, and I can't help but keep going to see how it turns out. Easier to follow than it's predecessor, it does still have parts that are hard to follow, especially when talking geography and battle strategy. A faceplate map would have been nice when we are talking about plains, mountains and thousand-mile treks. In the end, I gloss over those bits, which in this story, at least, seemed relatively harmless. This time the company heads to the ends of the continent, which, coincidentally, is where Raven and Darling are hiding out. Croaker is still the narrator for the company chapters. The company is sent there to deal with a mysterious black castle at the Lady's behest. Meanwhile, actions on the part of Raven and the innkeeper are making events progress rapidly at the castle. Croaker starts to play a dangerous game, concealing Raven's actions from the Lady while otherwise working for her interests there. There are notes of redemption in the end, which makes it feel like it was worth reading.