The Mortal Word

The Mortal Word: Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Irene Winters, Kai “Strongrock”, Peregrine Vale, and a host of characters are back together solving mysteries while The Library is trying to get a peace treaty signed by the dragons and the fae.  I love this world and the over the top characters that are balanced by an investigation and political maneuvering.  Straight back from collecting a book in an alternate, Irene returns to her London of residency and is quickly recruited, along with Vale, to help solve a murder that happened at secret peace treaty talks between the dragons and the fae.  Kai, no longer under Irene’s supervision, agrees it would be beneficial for him to be there and sneaks into the other alternate ahead of Vale and Irene.  An investigation team lead by Irene consists of Vale, a dragon representative, and a fae representative.  While agreeing that peace is desired all suspect each other and acknowledge that even their own side has a motive too.  A working relationship is formed within the team and eventually they uncover all sides have something to hide in the negotiations which surprisingly help speed up the signing of the treaty and create new roles for Irene and Kai.

It would not be an Invisible Library adventure without Kai or Irene being threatened at some point. Irene risks herself to discover information, while Kai is betrayed putting them both in danger.  Irene’s ability to use The Language is becoming stronger, leading me to question who her true parents really are.  Vale is enjoying the strangeness of the Paris in the alternate compared to the Paris in his world, which lands him in trouble at one point too.  Lord Silver is the fae representative on the team, with no investigative skill Irene quickly realizes he is brought in because the Fae think he can manage or control Vale and Irene.  Mu Dan is the dragon representative, an independent judge-investigator who has no ties to a royal family.  Kai and Irene each have their superiors suggesting that they seduce the other one for more information.  When the plots and those responsible for the mysteries are revealed extra support is required to be brought in from the outside to wrap up the peace treaty and designate ambassadors for all sides to go to when there is a problem. I am thrilled that the author has kept the characters developing, relationships evolving/growing, and maintained true to this alternate world that I would love to be a part of.

Character List/Book Summary:

Irene Winters = Librarian, starting to believe in herself and her ability to use The Language and maneuver between political factions without creating chaos. De facto leader of the investigative team.  After solving multiple murders for the Fae, Dragons, and taking on Alberich for the Library she is chosen ambassador for the new peace treaty.

Kai “Strongrock” = Dragon, no longer with The Library, asks his father to let him stay to finish his task, protective of Irene, visits his uncle who is in Paris for the peace treaty and works for him while there. Betrayed by someone he trusted, he almost dies, but shows his true strength by standing up to an elder dragon and following his father’s wishes to protect the peace treaty.

Peregrine Vale = famous detective in his London, a human representative on the investigative team. Earl of Leeds, Fae is in his family history, prefers the facts over political agendas and protocol. Does not wish to tell Kai who betrayed him, because he does not want to hurt Kai.

Bradamant = informs Irene there has been a murder at a secret peace treaty negotiation and she needs Vale and Irene to help solve the murder.  Claims she arrived at the conference and was sent away to fetch Vale and Irene. The head of security at the event tells Bradamant that she is to help Irene and Vale, indicating Irene is Bradamant’s superior in this instance. As Bradamant had previously trained Irene it annoys her when Irene is seen in a better light and is advancing in status.

Lord Ren Shun = sworn man of Kai’s uncle, Ao Ji, murdered, stabbed in the back. Ao Ji said that Ren Shun mentioned a mysterious book the night he was murdered, to try and frame The Library. Lord Ren Shun was the spymaster for Ao Ji, and had a falling out with his brother over ethics. All of his servants were murdered too, Mu Dan finds them in the morgue.

Ao Ji = Dragon, King of the Western Oceans, Kai’s uncle. While not fully supportive of Kai, he finds use for him during the peace treaty negotiations. Has a temper and brings in cold weather/snow storms when he is angry. Is replaced at the peace treaty after some of his dealings are discovered. Irene prevents the Fae from killing him, but is unsure what consequences the dragons have in store for him.

Kostchei = Librarian, lead arbitrator in the peace negotiations. Sent Bradamant to get Vale and Irene, lets Irene know that her parents, adoptive, are being held hostage in a dragon court so that she is not surprised by the fact later on. Librarians were provided as hostages to both the Fae and Dragon as a sign of The Library’s independence and allows each side to be assured that the other side is not favored.

Princess = Fae, archetype in favor of peace, being saved by a knight, her beauty makes people fall in love with her and devote themselves to helping her.  One of the Fae representatives at the peace treaty, warns Irene that treason is afoot.

Cardinal = Fae, archetype of being devious and intelligent. He was a mentor to Lord Guantes who previously kidnapped Kai, and said he disassociated himself with Guantes before the kidnapping.  Lord Silver warns the investigative team that Cardinal is not one you want to owe a favor to, as it is always too high a price to pay and some do not have the ability to negotiate with him either.

Duan Zheng = works for Ao Ji, head of security, filling in for Ren Shun’s role after his murder.  Helps Irene question and then disposed of the bodies of men who attempted to kill Ao Ji and Irene foiled the attempt.  Irene learns about “the theater” from these men. Duan Zheng orders his security detail to only bring Irene in on any issue that might arise during the dinner so as not to create suspicion, when Irene tells his men to break that order Duan Zheng is mad but understands when she is supported by Mu Dan.

Mu Dan = Dragon, connected to the Earth, assisting the investigative team, a judge-investigator who is independent of dragon royalty. Belongs to the Green River family, cousin to Mei Feng, but does not get along with her. Questions why Silver is the Fae representative, and if Irene can be trusted.  Agrees to create a working trust with the team, until facts are determined.

Lord Silver = most powerful fae in Vale’s London, assigned to the investigative team. His archetype is that of libertarian seducer, who can save people with a kiss. Is weary of Cardinal and switches between being proud of Irene and toying with her.  Requests a private meeting, but Kai and Vale listen in as they are worried what Silver might do to Irene.

Coppelia = Librarian, Irene’s mentor, at the peace conference. Is proud that Irene accepted the role of ambassador.

Li Ming = King of Northern Ocean’s representation at the conference. Is a witness to Ao Ji’s confession. Holds a grudge against Ren Shu, his brother, in the service to Ao Shun.

Mei Feng = Queen of Southern Land’s representation at the conference. Attending instead of Minister Zhao, who was killed. Is a witness to Ao Ji’s confession. Does not get along with her cousin, Mu Dan.

Minister Zhao = Red Plain dragon family, recently killed, one of the most significant individuals who was not a monarch at the peace talks, because he helped set it up.  Irene suspects that his murder may have been to get a secret agent into the talks or to disrupt the talks.

Prutkov = Librarian, head of security for the Library at the conference. Melusine’s star pupil, until she felt he was too secretive. Irene is unsure if she can trust him, due to his personal plans for The Library’s future.  Tells Irene she is expendable, and Irene overhears him talking about his plots.

Inspector Maillon = human detective in Paris that is assigned to the case, helps Vale with access to the bodies and investigative tools.

Sarashina = Librarian, collected statements at the hotel the dragons are staying at. Rongomani is there to help her.

Sterrington = Fae, head of security for the Fae delegation, businesswoman, knows Irene from when Kai was kidnapped.

Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory = Fae, who loves torture and blood. Cardinal warns Irene about here, but does not have proof she actually is in Paris. Irene finds evidence that Cardinal was one of the ones giving inside information to the Countess.  Countess confronts Irene in the wine cellar during the dinner, and in “the theater” along with the investigative team.  Irene realizes both dragons and fae gave Countess information to put the peace conference in jeopardy. Cats are her familiars. Her hideout/den had protection charms in The Language from Alberich, and she hinted that Alberich and her made a deal previously.

Melsuine = Librarian, top of security for the Library. Reluctantly agrees to help Irene when she goes to The Library for help unsure if she can trust those in Paris because of what she is starting to learn.

Hsien = Duan Zheng’s servant who summons Irene during dinner to alert her to potential threats.

Dorotya = The Countess’s “old maid” who questions and threatens Irene, ends up owing Irene at the end when Irene warns her to leave.

Lu Bu = dragon, framed for Minister Zhao’s death, and found innocent of poisoning him.

Tian Shun = favorite of his majesty of the Eastern Ocean, opened negotiations with the Library

Ao Guang = Dragon, Kai’s father. Arrived to finish the peace treaty after his younger brother, Ao Ji, was found to be compromised. Assigns Kai to be the ambassador and work with Irene as the group an individual can go to if there is a problem with the treaty. Kai is proud that his father has recognized him.



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