The Scarab Path is book five in the Shadows of the Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky. This one of my favorite series and this book demonstrates why. Unlike his previous installments, this book focuses more on three characters and has more character building which some might find slows the pace, but makes for a strong entry in this series. It focuses a lot on Che and Thaldric. The war with the Wasp Empire has ended in a bitter stalemate after the events of Salute the Dark. Che is haunted by ghosts from the past seeks for meaning in a city that is no longer home and must make her own way while learning how to be by herself and crippled. Meanwhile, the Empress Seda is regaining control over those cities that refuse to bow to her while those who seek to find out her terrible secret from where she draws her power send out assassins as her consort, Thalric, who knows the truth finds his life and loyalties under threat again. Together, Che and Thalric arrive in Kanaphes where they find a city living in the past and try to discover its terrible secret entombed beneath its stones. At the same time, the Scorpion desert tribe has decided to attack its longtime foe, the Khanaphes.
This series is strong on character, action, epic battles, political intrigue and a fascinate world. I highly recommend it to fans of fantasy, especially those who want to move away from the common trope of elves, orcs and goblins. Enter a world where insects and magic hold sway and go to battle. I rate this one five stars as it is on keeper status on my shelves.
Featured in the Night Owl Reviews Magazine 4/15/2011.
The war with the Wasp Empire has ended in a bitter stalemate, and Collegium has nothing to show for it but wounded veterans. Cheerwell Maker finds herself crippled in ways no doctor can mend, haunted by ghosts of the past that she cannot appease, seeking for meaning in a city that no longer seems like home. The Empress Seda is regaining control over those imperial cities who refused to bow the knee to her, but she draws her power from something more sinister than mere armies and war machines. Only her consort, the former spymaster Thalric, knows the truth, and now the assassins are coming and he finds his life and his loyalties under threat yet again. Out past the desert of the Nem the ancient city of Khanaphes awaits them both, with a terrible secret entombed beneath its stones...