Blood of the Mantis is the third volume in the Shadows of the Apt series, following on from the events in "Dragonfly Falling" and written by Adrian Tchaikovsky.
Driven by the ghosts of the Darakyon, Achaeos has tracked the stolen Shadow Box to the marsh-town of Jerez, but he has only days before the magical box is lost to him forever.
The forces of the Empire are mustering over winter for their great offensive, gathering their soldiers and perfecting their new weapons before they confront the might of the Wasp army.
Stenwold and his followers have only a short time to gather what allies they can before the Wasp armies march again, conquering everything in their path. If they cannot throw back the Wasps this spring then the imperial black-and-gold flag will fly over every city in the Lowlands before the year's end.
In Jerez begins a fierce struggle over the Shadow Box, as lake creatures, secret police and renegade magicians compete to take possession.
If it falls into the hands of the Wasp Emperor, however, then no amount of fighting will suffice to save the world from his relentless ambition.
Blood of the Mantis gets straight to the point of the story with no hesitation, the stage is set and the characters ready to act of the play without any more need for backdrop. If you think Adrian handled the epic fight scenes then wait to you see how he manages the cloak and dagger stealth that is quite prevalent in Blood of the Mantis.
The characters are as well drawn as ever and the pace as fast as Dragonfly Falling. The momentum is such that by the end of the novel I am hungering for the next is this astounding series.
Written on Saturday 10th October 2009 by Antony Jones.
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