The book does not have Tom or Alice, and is about a new world and other creatures that roam those worlds. After the first few chapter the reader might start to wonder how does this impact Tom’s destiny or Alice’s journey. The answer does not come in this book, however Grimalkin does come into play towards the end leaving the reader curious about how Slither will come into play later.
Slither is a mage that feeds off of people and animals near several farms, striking a deal with one of the farmers. Nessa becomes Slither’s property upon her father’s death and a strange relationship is formed between the two as the story progresses. When Slither talks of Valkarky, the reader might mistake it at first for Valkyrie from the Norse myths. It is not the same! Here only males exist and human females are slaves. The blood lust and gore are what trial by combat are really about. Throughout the book strange alliances are forged out of necessity, creating an uncertain future for how the intertwining of this book will work with the rest of the Last Apprentice series.
This book could be a complete stand alone from the series, which is is typically strange for an eleventh book in a series. It leaves the reader wanting more and curious about how this story will relate to Tom’s destiny and Alice’s journey.
Character List/Book Summary:
Grimalkin = the only character from the other books in the series to make an appearance in this book. Finds the star stone and is captured, held hostage she uses her magic to summon Slither to help her escape. In return for helping her Grimalkin offers to trade Slither help in his combat by trial. The deal is struck and after helping in the arena, Grimalkin offers help to both Slither and Nessa at different times. Grimalkin plans to make a new sword for Tom using the Star Stone, because she has forseen that he will live past fighting the Fiend.
Slither = has hair all over, can slither into people’s minds, his tail helps him sense danger. Required to sell a human female once every 40 years, going to plead his case for killing Nunc and two assassins in protecting his property, the three sisters. Realizes that he has strange feelings for Nessa as the journey progresses and feels they will meet again.
Rowler = Slither pays him for blood, gored by a bull and dies his spirit goes up immediately. Traded his eldest daughter, Nessa, to Slither once he died if Slitehr agreed to take his younger two daughters to their aunt and uncle in the south.
Nessa = Rowler’s eldest daughter, saves Slither a few times during their journey. Has a fighting spirit, is sad that she will not get a long life of happiness. Believes in witches and has heard stories of the Pendle witches.
Susan = Rowler’s middle daughter, Nunc tries to drain her blood. Was spoiled by her father. Has difficulty with the journey, dies at the hands of the haggenbroad.
Bryony – Rowler’s youngest daughter, raised by Nessa. The assassin warriors were ready to eat her when Slither saved her to abide by the trade he made with Rowler and Nessa.
Nunc = own/runs the place Slither takes the girls to stay during a blizzard. A high mage he tries to trade with Slither for the 3 girls, when Slither declines he poisons Slither with his familiar. Nessa and Slither kill him to save Susan.
Rasptail = the mage that trained Slither for 30 years, is now 800 years old and plans to end his life once it is confirmed that his magic is fading. Slither feels slightly sad, but know this is what his kind do as an honorable death.
Hom = servant the Haizda mages, like Slither, employee in Valkarky. Tells Slither about Rasptail and the gossip in the city, helps Slither find Grimalkin and her items.
Balkai = most senior of the triumvirate, threatens Slither on the way out of Valkarky by telling him they have sent Eblis for him even though he won his freedom.