The third in the Codex Alera series.
Tavi gets into yet another scrape in this book! Surprised? With the First Lord still thinking about kicking the bucket maybe someday in the future, the high lords of Alera have been bickering about who will succeed his heirless-ness. The First Lord wants to just get the whole uprising thing out of the way, so he chooses one of the two front-runners to become his legal heir in an attempt to draw out the other, Kalare, and force him to fight early. It works far better than the First Lord intended, and soon there are a lot of dead people lying about.
Tavi is away from the fighting this time, serving as the First Lord’s spy in the military even though there’s no way Tavi can fight (no furies, remember!). Luckily, he’s assigned to a prototype Legion made up of soldiers from all parts of Alera, a Legion that is not meant to see battle. Except… Kalare is not just fighting on his own. He’s brought in a race called the Canim (dog-like creatures, naturally) to do some of the dirty work for him and it falls on the First Aleran to fight them, mostly under the unexpected command of Tavi.
Other stuff happens, too, of course, but I think the Canim battle is the most interesting part, especially with Tavi leading the way. The book also finally settles Tavi’s lineage (which made me go, “Duh! Should have seen that one!”) and shows you much of the First Lord’s cunning, something that the characters are always just arguing about. Well done, all in all, except for this little tiny major thing that happens at the very end and makes me want to scream in frustration. Bah. We’ll see where Butcher goes with that in the next book…