The is the fourth volume in The Steerswoman series. I seem to have missed volume three, but this one was really a doozy.
Rowan, our Steerwoman, a kind of traveling encyclopedia in a medieval-like land is back in Donner, near where her group’s archives are. The reigning wizard there, Jannik, is in charge of the dragons which terrorize the city from time to time. While there, she and Bel, her Outskirter friend and warrior, meet up again with William, from volume one, who has been apprenticed to the Wizard, but has run away from him.
In their search for the whereabouts of the evil overlord wizard, they go into Jannik’ house while he is away, and all of the events leading up to this make it clear that the ‘dragons’ are some sort of mechanical device housed in a dragon disguise, and controlled by the wizard. And everything else is apparently some kind of computer setup, which the wizards refer to as ‘magic’, but which have terms we would recognize today: bandwidth, file, commands, programs, updates, accessing data. The wizards apparently had some pretty high tech from eons ago. And as Arthur C. Clarke once famously said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” What a wonderful turn of events for this series.
It still has not ended, although the nasty Jannik gets destroyed, but the evil Slado still exists somewhere, and William and Rowan are still determined to get to the bottom of this whole business.
As yet, there is no Volume Five, so we must bid adieu to this series, because frankly, by the time the next book is released (and there is no indication she is even working on it), I will have forgotten all about it and be heavily involved in something else, like The Alexandria Quartet, or something. Time waits for no woman, and I ain’t gettin’ any younger, darlings.