This second book in Tamora Pierce's THE IMMORTALS QUARTET centers around the further development of Daine's magical ability to communicate with animals.
The story begins when the wolf pack that lives near her former home village sends an envoy to ask for her assistance communicating with the humans who are ruining the lands where these wolves hunt. Daine, who owes a debt of gratitude to these wolves for having cared for her once she escaped her village, can't say no to their request, and along with her wizardly teacher, the powerful mage Numair Salmalín, she journeys to Fief Dunlath, the area known by the wolves as Long Lake.
There, things are much worse than they initially seemed. Not only are the rulers of Fief Dunlath completely disregarding the impact of their actions upon the local wildlife, but Numair recognizes one of their guests as a Combat Mage from the Carthaki Empire, a country currently engaged in small skirmishes with Tortall. It soon becomes apparent that the Lady of the fief is engaged in double dealings with the Carthakis.
While Numair speeds back to warn King Jonathan of what is happening, Daine stays behind with her wolf-friends, gathering information and making plans for putting an end to the mining and garrisoning of soldiers that are destroying the natural habitats of more animals than just the wolves.
In a continuation of her skills from the previous book, Daine learns how to share her mind with animals, seeing through their eyes and sensing with their senses. She also discovers, much to her surprise, that any lengthy mental cohabitation could give her unexpected animal characteristics, like the ears of a mouse or the eyes of a hawk, that fade away only after she has detached herself from the animal's consciousness. With the help of a whole network of animal friends, Daine sketches out a plan of attack that will show the nobles of Fief Dunlath what happens when you mess with the wildlife.
Overall, I found this book quite enjoyable; the continued development of Daine's character was accomplished smoothly, and the characters newly introduced in this volume were fleshed out in their own rights. Particularly notable characters included, not just Numair, but also the baby dragon Stormsong, known as Kitten, and all of the wolves of the Long Lake pack.
If you liked the first book, you'll love the next one!show more