With the plot against them foiled and the city of Qi-Katai in safe hands, newlywed and tentative lovers Velasin and Caethari have just begun to test the waters of their relationship. But the wider political ramifications of their marriage are still playing out across two nations, and all too soon, they’re summoned north to Tithena’s capital city, Qi-Xihan, to present themselves to its monarch.
With Caethari newly invested as his grandmother’s heir and Velasin’s old ghosts gnawing at his heels, what little peace they’ve managed to find is swiftly put to the test. Cae’s recent losses have left him racked with grief and guilt, while Vel struggles with the disconnect between instincts that have kept him safe in secrecy and what an open life requires of him now. Pursued by unknown assailants and with Qi-Xihan’s court factions jockeying for power, Vel and Cae must use all the skills at their disposal to not only survive, but thrive.
Because there’s more than one way to end an alliance, and more than one person who wants to see them fail…and they will resort to murder if needed.
“All the Hidden Paths” by Foz Meadows is a beautifully authentic story about loss, gender identity and sexuality that is realistic and well written. In this sequel to “A Strange and Stubborn Endurance”, the story continues with the aftermath of the events that occurred in that novel. In this story, the politics and intrigue continue with the relationship between Cae and Vel tested in new and different ways as they learn to navigate the political ramifications of their relationship.
I love the authentic expression of grief that we see in Caethari but also Vel’s continued struggles in the aftermath of his sexual assault. I love the ways that each man differs and how we continue to see Vel embracing his strengths. Both characters are beautifully complex, three dimensional and flawed but those flaws are balanced out by their love for each other. I love the evolution of their relationship and how they learn to navigate the difficulties and complexities of that relationship. This is a beautiful continuation of the story of this pair.
If you like Foz Meadows and you read “A Strange and Stubborn Endurance”, you will want to read this novel. It is beautifully authentic with complex characters and a lovely relationship. This fantasy is one of my all time favorites now.
Rating: 5 out of 5 knives