From Publishers Weekly
Fans mourning Baker's death earlier this year will be comforted by this gentle conclusion to 2009's The House of the Stag
and 2010's The Anvil of the World
. Teen Elissa is left orphaned and guilt-ridden when her addict mother dies in a diving accident. She supports herself and her younger half-brother by odd-jobbing on a huge river barge, visiting colorful towns on their way upstream. As Elissa gradually becomes invaluable to the Bird
's crew by spotting dangerous river snags, she also learns to see through human subterfuge while accompanying Krelan, lesser son of an assassin family, who's investigating the murder of one of his family's wealthy clients. Satisfyingly exotic local color, a boatload of convincing characters with a captain touched by the supernatural, and a realistic treatment of young love make this an unusually sensitive growing-up tale. (July)
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Baker’s even, fluid writing perfectly complements this sensitive tale set in the same universe as The Anvil of the World (2003) and The House of the Stag (2008). Half-siblings Eliss and Alder encourage their drug-addict mother to sign on as a diver with the river maintenance barge, the Bird of the River. Although their mother dies before they can settle in, they stay with the barge, and Eliss quickly finds her place as an invaluable lookout. Her observational skills are particularly handy in aiding Krelan, a young assassin working undercover to find the murderer of a Diamondcut noble. Alder, however, longs to pursue his Yendri heritage and jumps ship as soon as he is able. As the barge travels upstream, Eliss and Krelan run afoul of bandits who seem to be one step ahead of the port towns they sack. With authentic characters, subtle romance, and convincing dual mysteries, a wandering life on the Bird of the River is a satisfying one indeed. Those mourning Baker’s death in January will be moved by this addition to her legacy. --Krista Hutley