Master of the House Of Darts: Obsidian and Blood Vol. III by Aliette deBodard
One of the disadvantages of reading and writing about so many books is that it’s sometimes hard to find the entries when you need them. I’m fairly sure that I’ve written about at least the first book of this series, but I can’t find where.
So: de Bodard has written a trio of mysteries set during the age of the Mexica, more popularely known as the Aztecs. The protagonist is Acatl, high priest of the god of death, who officially must investigate all murders in the kingdom. His protege, Teomitl, is the titular master (kind of a general-in-chief of the Mexica armies, and heir to the throne). In the last book, Acatl and the two other high priests of the major Mexica churches took desperate steps to insure that the Empire had a new First Speaker (Emperor); now they are living with the consequences of those efforts.
The First Speaker comes back from his coronation war with a pitiful few prisoners, one of whom almost immediately expires from a magical/cursed disease. Acatl’s investigations lead him, once again, deep into politics in realms both human and divine. The plague is spreading, and Teomitl is clearly up to something that he isn’t talking about, so it will probably make things worse.
This is the conclusion (probably) to an interesting series set in a world most of us never really think much about. You might kind of need to shut your prejudices about the Aztecs off, but the world makes sense within itself (de Bodard had to do some reconstruction, since much of what is known about the Mexica is unreliable and much else is unknown), the characters, though alien enough to be thought-provoking, are interesting and, where necessary, likable, and it is a place and time unlike anything in western European fantasy. Highly recommended, though you want to start with Servant of the Underworld.
Kris Longknife: Deserter by Mike Shepherd
Re-read. Originally written up here
An Accidental Goddess by Linnea Sinclair
Re-read. Original here.
I would make one addition to that write-up: there’s something that happens towards the end of the book that now sort of annoys me; I don’t think it’s necessary and if I were writing the book I’d take it out. YMMV. Still recommended.