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Previously, on Night’s Masque…

I don’t know about you, but I tend to forget what happened in the previous book when reading a series! I’m therefore going to post recaps of Books One and Two in the Night’s Masque trilogy so that you can refresh your memory without having to re-read the whole thing!

WARNING: the recaps will of course include loads of spoilers! Do not read the rest of this page unless you’ve already read the novel(s) in question 🙂


The Alchemist of Souls

England, 1593. Queen Elizabeth, having married Robert Dudley and produced two sons, has more-or-less retired from public life following the death of her rebellious husband in the Tower of London. Her eldest son, also named Robert, has taken her place as the focus of the English court and undertakes many of her duties, including entertaining the ambassador from the New World…

Elizabethan swordsman Mal Catlyn has a problem: his mentally ill twin brother Sandy has been committed to Bedlam, and the warders are charging Mal an arm and a leg to keep him in something resembling civilised conditions. So when Mal is given a prestigious new commission as bodyguard to the new ambassador, he can hardly refuse. Then he learns that the ambassador is a skrayling, one of a race of mysterious beings from the New World who have allied themselves with the English against the Spanish conquistadors. The skraylings are not human; they live more-or-less peacefully alongside the Native Americans and trade up and down the Atlantic coast, bringing potatoes, tobacco and chilli to Europe, along with lights that glow without fire and other seemingly magical devices.

Not all Englishmen welcome the skraylings’ presence in their kingdom, however. The Huntsmen are an illegal secret society who murder skraylings that stray too far from their official enclaves—and Mal and Sandy were initiated into their ranks by their elder brother Charles when they were barely sixteen. If anyone finds out, Mal will be out of a job, arrested and most likely tortured for information, although the only person he can implicate—Charles—fled the country several years ago and hasn’t been seen since.

At first Mal tries to get out of the post altogether by calling in a favour from an acquaintance from college: Blaise Grey, son of the Duke of Suffolk. Grey promises to get Mal an alternative job as a fencing master, but the weeks pass and nothing materialises, leaving Mal with no choice but to take up his commission at the Tower of London. In the meantime he resolves to learn more about the skraylings, and through his friend Ned Faulkner he makes the acquaintance of Suffolk’s Men, a company of players whose patron is none other than Grey’s father. They and two other companies have been chosen to compete in a drama contest that will be judged by the ambassador, a custom common amongst the skraylings.

The company includes a young tireman (a costumier/dresser) called Coby Hendricks. Unbeknownst to anyone, “Coby” is actually a girl named Jacomina who was orphaned when her family fled their home in the Netherlands five years ago. She has lived disguised as a boy ever since, in order to avoid the inevitable fate of penniless young women—a life of prostitution—but like Mal, if her secret were found out she would be subjected to severe punishment. She teaches Mal a little of the pidgin used by the skrayling traders, and in turn he teaches her some hand-to-hand combat. The increasing intimacy between them turns into a crush on Coby’s side, and she decides not to see him again for fear she will betray herself. Mal of course still thinks she’s a boy, and whilst he’s not entirely heterosexual in his habits, seventeen is a little young for his liking.

In addition to his official post Mal is recruited by the queen’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, to use his closeness to the ambassador to find out more about the skraylings’ plans. When Ambassador Kiiren finally arrives in London, he takes an immediate interest in his new bodyguard, much to Mal’s discomfort. However duty comes first. During a visit to the shipyards at Deptford, Mal finds himself having to save Kiiren from an assassin and later has to deal with both the French and Spanish ambassadors, who try bribes and threats respectively to turn Mal to their cause.

Meanwhile, Suffolk’s Men are being targeted by an anti-skrayling zealot who has posted a scurrilous poem on the door of the theatre, slandering the actors. Coby finds herself volunteered to be nightwatchman, and one night she disturbs a masked man breaking into the theatre. She hits him over the head with a stool and ties him up, and in the morning he is arrested.

As Mal gets to know Kiiren, he finds his prejudices challenged and even begins to grow fond of the enigmatic young skrayling. What Mal doesn’t know is that Kiiren has a personal agenda that he must keep hidden even from his own people. The skraylings are skilled dreamwalkers and have learnt how to use this to reincarnate, but it is against their law to reincarnate as humans. Kiiren’s lover, Erishen, came to England about thirty years ago to find out what had happened to some skraylings who were kidnapped six hundred years previously by the Vikings and taken back to Europe. He traced their movements as far as Derbyshire, where he was murdered by the Huntsmen—and in his terror and confusion his soul tried to take refuge in the nearest unborn child. Unfortunately that was the Catlyn twins, and his soul became divided between them. Sandy got the greater share of Erishen’s soul, and his madness has been caused by witnessing the brutal murder of another skrayling when the twins were initiated into the Huntsmen. Mal’s symptoms are much milder, consisting of occasional premonitions as well as recurring nightmares of the murder, nightmares in which he himself becomes the victim.

Kiiren’s information about what happened to Erishen is sketchy, however; he has no idea that Mal has a twin brother and therefore initially believes that Mal is Erishen. Mal meanwhile has no wish for the ambassador to find out he has a brother in an insane asylum, so when a trip to Bedlam is planned Mal diverts the ambassador’s party to Bartholomew Fair instead. Whilst there, Kiiren arranges for Mal to be given a tattoo that has personal significance to himself and Erishen, hoping this will awaken the soul within Mal.

Back at the Tower Mal is flogged for disobeying orders and taking the ambassador to such a dangerous place as a public fair. Affronted by such barbarity, Kiiren takes Mal to the skrayling encampment in Southwark, and in a dreamwalking ceremony he and the elders debate what to do next. Mal is instinctively drawn in by the magic and almost betrays Kiiren’s secret to the elders, but this gives Kiiren new hope that Mal might indeed be Erishen.

The following day, Kiiren and Mal are summoned to an audience with Queen Elizabeth herself, and it is agreed that both sides will overlook the misunderstanding. Kiiren returns to his quarters at the Tower with Mal in tow. Since the tattoo seems to have had no effect, Kiiren risks dosing Mal with a skrayling dream-herb. Under its influence they share a memory of Erishen, and Kiiren is overjoyed. Mal however rationalises the whole incident as a skrayling superstition, though something he can perhaps use to find out what Kiiren is really up to.

Not all skraylings are reluctant to break their laws by reincarnating as humans. There is a faction amongst them that fears the Europeans will never leave the New World alone—and their solution is to infiltrate the ruling classes of Christendom and thereby control the course of history. These guisers, as they become known, have already made inroads into the English aristocracy. They count amongst their number the Duke of Suffolk, whose overt friendliness towards the skraylings is a cover for communicating with his allies amongst them, whilst he uses his son Blaise as a catspaw to find out more about the Huntsmen’s activities.

When Suffolk finds out that the skrayling ambassador has chosen a former Huntsman as his bodyguard, he fears he has been betrayed and hires henchmen to abduct Sandy so that he can be used as leverage against Mal. The henchmen coerce Mal’s friend Ned into helping them, then they convey Sandy by boat to Suffolk’s country estate near Richmond Palace. Afterwards one of them comes to Ned’s house in the night to tie up the loose ends; Ned’s mother dies of a heart attack, and Ned only narrowly fights the man off and kills him. Ned gives himself up to the authorities, but not before telling Coby what has happened to Sandy. She rushes off to the Rose Theatre where Mal is accompanying the ambassador, and warns him.

Mal sends for Walsingham, and—still not understanding about Kiiren and Erishen—they come to the conclusion that Sandy has been kidnapped so that he can be used in some kind of plot to substitute him for Mal, since they look so alike. Walsingham wants Mal to be replaced as Kiiren’s bodyguard, but Mal says this will render Sandy useless to the plotters and thus spell his death. Mal therefore suggests using Ned and himself as bait to draw them out. When this plan somewhat inevitably fails to produce any results, Mal suggests a sparring session with Coby to work off some tension. However she is injured during a demonstration of knife-fighting and Mal discovers her true sex. Mal assures her that her secret is safe with him, but she doesn’t know if she can trust any man who works for Walsingham.

The performance by Suffolk’s Men goes ahead as planned, with the duke and duchess and their son in attendance. However in the middle of the play a prop cannon explodes (having been sabotaged by the man who broke into the theatre) and sets fire to the theatre. Suffolk is badly injured by shrapnel and Mal and Blaise have to carry him to safety, whilst Coby helps to evacuate Ambassador Kiiren. Sadly the head of the theatre company and one of the actors are killed in the explosion, and another actor, Rafe Eaton, loses an eye. To Ned’s relief his lover Gabriel, also an actor with Suffolk’s Men, escapes harm.

Mal and Coby meet up back at the Tower of London, and Mal persuades her to stay the night, though he is too respectful of her grief to make any advances. During the night Mal wakes to find a tunnel of light forming in his bedchamber; it is Sandy, using his skrayling magic to contact his brother and try to escape imprisonment. However Mal is not strong enough to help Sandy, and instead ends up going through the tunnel himself, to Suffolk’s manor house where Sandy is being held prisoner. Coby wakes just in time to see him disappear; Kiiren is woken by the nearby magical activity but arrives too late to stop it. Coby tells him everything, including about Sandy, and he uses his own magic to locate the twins to the west of the city, in or near one of the palaces.

As soon as it is light Coby rushes off to find Ned and Gabriel. They decide to go and see if the Duke of Suffolk can help them, since he has an estate near Richmond Palace. However the duke is not there; he seems to have been removed to his country estate at his own urgent insistence, despite still being badly injured. Coby puts two and two together and guesses that the duke is behind the abduction of both Mal and Sandy. She and Ned hire a boat to get them to Richmond, whilst Gabriel stays behind in London to keep an eye on the duke’s town house, just in case.

Meanwhile, Suffolk has been interrogating Sandy and found out the truth: that he and Mal are both reincarnations of Erishen. When Mal magically appears in Sandy’s locked quarters, Suffolk assumes that he is the stronger half and tortures him for information about Erishen’s activities in Derbyshire before his murder. Mal of course remembers almost nothing of this. When physical torment fails to have the desired effect, Suffolk decides that the only solution is to kill one of the brothers and reunite the two halves of their soul in one, hopefully sane, mind.

Coby and Ned arrive just in time to stop the ritual. Sandy uses his magic to make Suffolk’s guards turn on one another and their master, then disappears into another tunnel of light. Mal holds off Blaise whilst Coby and Ned leave, taking the dying duke with them as a hostage. They carry him back to his bedchamber, and on the way out Coby steals some pages of strange-looking writing from the duke’s desk. Mal fights Blaise, seriously injuring him, then rejoins his friends and they escape in a rowing boat. Guardsmen from Richmond Palace, on the opposite side of the river, shoot at them and Mal is injured, but Kiiren turns up in his ambassadorial barge in the nick of time. Sandy is also on the barge, since he used Kiiren as an anchor point for his escape tunnel through the dreamlands.

They return to London, where Mal is arrested for assaulting the duke and his son. He is eventually released when the case against him is dropped in order to patch up relations with the skraylings. Walsingham offers Mal a permanent position in his intelligence service and suggests he takes the French up on their offered bribe of an estate in Provence and act as a double agent. Mal agrees; now that Kiiren has taken charge of Sandy he is no longer tied to London, and his recent actions have made him a lot of enemies at court.

Returning to the skrayling camp to say farewell to his brother, Mal asks Kiiren if there is a cure for Sandy’s madness. Kiiren says that the only cure is to let Erishen take over his mind; there is no real cure for one whose soul is divided in two. They also discuss the late duke, whom Erishen identified as a guiser named Jathekkil. Mal tells Kiiren that he fears Jathekkil has reincarnated in Prince Robert’s unborn child, and aims for the throne itself.

Mal and Coby confess their feelings for one another, but Mal says they cannot be lovers if she accompanies him to France in male guise, because the French are much less tolerant of homosexuals. Unwilling to give up the freedom she has gained as a young man, Coby reluctantly agrees to this condition, and Mal offers to take her on as his “manservant”.

A few weeks later a son, Henry, is born to Prince Robert and Princess Juliana. When Robert tells his baby son that he might one day be King of England, the little prince smiles…


The Merchant of Dreams

France, January 1595. On the advice of Sir Francis Walsingham, Mal Catlyn has accepted a bribe from the French—a small estate near Aix-en-Provence—and is now acting as a double agent in France, aided by Coby Hendricks. Shortly after New Year Mal has a nightmare about a shipwreck involving a skrayling vessel and feels compelled to investigate. He charters a ship out of Marseille captained by his friend Youssef, an Egyptian Moor who is making the most of the Franco-Ottoman alliance to ply his trade between the French port and the North African coast.

On the northern coast of Corsica they find the wreckage of a skrayling vessel, and Mal and Coby go ashore to look for survivors. They track the skraylings to the walled city of Calvi, where Mal has another, less clear, premonition. Scouting the harbour they discover a watchtower with locked doors, and Mal feels certain the skraylings are being held within. When they break into the tower they find the skraylings have committed suicide rather than be sold into slavery; the only survivor is a boy, Ruviq.

Mal takes Ruviq to his estate in Provence, and from there the three of them travel to the island of Sark, which was given to the skraylings by Queen Elizabeth in return for driving out the pirates who used to use it as a base. Ruviq is reunited with his clan, and Mal and Coby go to visit Kiiren and Sandy, who have been living on Sark for the past eighteen months. Mal is determined to take Sandy back to England with him, but at first Kiiren refuses. However the former ambassador is called to a meeting with the skrayling elders, and when he returns he tells Mal he can take Sandy after all. Mal is a little suspicious, but is too happy at the outcome to push matters.

Once in England Sandy puts on a spirit-guard, a string of steel beads that protects him from other dreamwalkers and also suppresses Erishen’s soul. He tells Mal the secret that Erishen had been keeping from them: the skrayling ship that foundered was on its way to Venice, to seek a new alliance to rival that with England, and now Kiiren has been called upon to lead a replacement expedition.

Back in London, Mal gives Walsingham the bad news. The spymaster tells him he must prevent this alliance if at all possible, and has his daughter Frances write letters of introduction to Sir Walter Raleigh and the English ambassador in Venice. The next day Mal and Ned ride to Hampton Court Palace to see Raleigh but are obliged to wait, as he is out visiting the duke of Northumberland who lives nearby. Whilst exploring the palace they encounter Prince Henry, who bursts into tears at the sight of them, making Mal more certain than ever that the infant prince is Jathekkil’s new host.

Raleigh returns, only too eager to put to sea again, and promises to have them in Venice by Easter. Meanwhile Ned hangs out with the servants, gathering gossip; it seems that Blaise Grey, who in now Duke of Suffolk, is courting Walsingham’s daughter. That night Mal encounters an unknown guiser in the dreamlands; at first he thinks it is Jathekkil, but the guiser laughs and says he is Jathekkil’s amayi, his soul-mate. Mal wakes in a cold sweat and plays cards with Ned for the rest of the night.

They return to London. Mal tells Coby he’s taking Ned to Venice with him, as he needs her to stay and look after Sandy—there’s no-one else he can trust with this vital task. He also asks her to approach Lady Frances, woman to woman, and find out if the rumour about her and Grey is true. Mal takes advantage of the moment of intimacy to kiss her; she rebuffs him, but afterwards she begins to wonder if she should do as he asks and give up her disguise for good, so that they can become lovers without having to be so secretive.

After Mal leaves for Venice on the Falcon, Sandy goes to Lord Grey and offers to translate the late duke’s notebook, which he suspects is written in Aiyalura, the skraylings’ scholarly language. Whilst Sandy works on the book in Grey’s library, Coby searches the desk hoping to find love letters from Lady Frances, but to no avail. Sandy meanwhile discovers that the notebook is written in a double cipher: the letters are Aiyaluran, but the text itself is in Latin, meaning it can only be read by guisers. With Coby’s help he begins to translate it, and discovers that it is an account of the skraylings who were brought to England by the Vikings and subsequently became guisers.

Meanwhile, Mal is suffering from seasickness and Ned receives a beating at the hands of a gang of homophobic sailors. However the incident seems to have been engineered in order to separate the two men, as an assassin attacks Mal in his cabin whilst Ned is thus preoccupied. Mal fights off his attacker, but Raleigh has the man hanged before Mal can get a confession out of him.

To Coby’s astonishment Sandy steals the notebook from the duke’s library, claiming it belongs to the skraylings. Fearing the duke will arrest and hang them, Coby decides they will be safer in France and persuades Gabriel to come with them. At Sandy’s suggestion they take a skrayling ship that is heading back to Sark, but once under sail Captain Hennaq tells them he’s decided to take them all the way to Marseille. However he betrays them and starts sailing west at Gibraltar instead of east; it transpires that it was his lover Tanijeel who was murdered as part of Mal and Sandy’s initiation into the Huntsmen, and Hennaq wants to take Sandy to the New World to stand trial. Coby reveals herself as a woman and uses the skraylings’ innate respect for females to negotiate with the captain. She persuades him that it would be better to go to Venice and capture Mal as well if he truly wants vengeance on Erishen.

Raleigh’s ship enters the Mediterranean, and as they pass the Algerian coast they are attacked by corsairs. Mal and Ned help to fight them off, but the ship is badly damaged and barely manages to limp into the nearest harbour, in southern Sardinia. They have trouble taking on replacement crew, so Raleigh sends Mal north to Marseille to get help from Youssef. With the Falcon partially repaired, they leave Sardinia just in time to escape a Spanish blockade and resume their eastward journey in the Hayreddin.

Arriving in Venice at last, Mal hands his letter of introduction to the English ambassador, Sir Geoffrey Berowne. The ambassador recognises the name Catlyn and shows Mal a census: Mal’s missing elder brother, Charles, is now resident in Venice. Whilst Raleigh shops for a gift fit for the Queen, Mal and Ned reconnoitre the city and discover that getting into the skrayling embassy without being seen is going to be next to impossible. That evening, Mal is invited to a soirée at the home of Olivia dalle Boccole, a beautiful mixed-race courtesan known as La Margherita Nera. He meets her patron Giambattista Bragadin and several other Venetian patricians, and Bragadin politely makes it clear that Olivia is off limits. He also hears rumours of an assassin and spy called Il Mercante di Sogni—the Merchant of Dreams.

Hennaq’s ship sails north up the Adriatic, where it comes upon the Hayreddin being attacked by Uskok pirates. Thinking that Mal might be on board, Hennaq goes to the rescue, and Coby seizes on the chance to call to Youssef for help. They are rescued from the skraylings, but Gabriel is injured in the escape so Youssef takes them to the nearby city of Spalato, which is ruled by Venice, to recover.

Under cover of searching for his brother Charles, Mal goes to a tavern and arranges a meeting with Cinquedea, one of Walsingham’s contacts, to ask for his help in getting access to the skraylings in secret. Afterwards he encounters Olivia in her gondola and is invited to another supper party. Whilst there, he overhears two men talking about Il Mercante, but before he can find out more he is ushered into Olivia’s apartments by her eunuch slave. When she joins him, he discovers that she is one of the Lost Ones, the skraylings kidnapped by the Vikings, and that she suspects him to be one as well. They make love, and Olivia asks him to become her amayi, since there are no other guisers in Venice. Mal seizes the opportunity to ask for her help in learning to dreamwalk, hoping that gaining control over his skrayling powers will halt the visions that keep troubling him. He also learns that she is ‘Il Mercante’ and is using Bragadin as her catspaw, but that she suspects him of betraying her.

With Gabriel recovering well, Coby decides it is time to continue on their way. Sandy uses his magic to persuade the leader of a commedia dell’arte troupe to take them in, though Coby is obliged to resume female garb again—unlike England, Italian custom allows women on stage, and the troupe is short of an actress.

On Olivia’s prompting, Mal follows Bragadin to a clandestine meeting. Since the skraylings’ arrival in Venice Olivia has had to be more cautious in her dreamwalking, and Il Mercante’s clients are losing patience with his excuses. One of them murders Bragadin and flees the scene in a gondola; Mal stabs the other, and he and Ned escape back to the English embassy. Next morning Mal receives a message telling him to meet Cinquedea that evening, and a letter from Coby warning him about Hennaq. In the meantime he goes to see Olivia, who tells him that with his help she will seek rebirth and put the scandal of Bragadin’s murder—and Il Mercante—behind her. Mal, sickened at the thought of more death, persuades her to wait until he can get rid of the skraylings, who might interfere.

During a gondola trip with Cinquedea, Mal agrees to share intelligence with Walsingham’s opposite number, the Blind Lacemaker, in return for help in getting into the skraylings’ palazzo. When he disembarks, he and Ned are arrested by constables and taken to the Doge’s Palace, where they are thrown into cells in the torture chamber. It later transpires that Berowne’s manservant overheard Cinquedea’s messenger boy and informed the city authorities.

Having arrived in Venice with the players, Coby goes to the English embassy to see Mal, but he hasn’t returned from his meeting. She goes back to the inn to tell Sandy, but he’s vanished into thin air—literally. She and Gabriel head back to the English embassy, fearing the worst.

Mal is tortured by strappado on the orders of the chancellor, but before too much injury can be done a letter arrives from Olivia and Mal and Ned are unexpectedly released. Ned takes Mal back to the embassy and Coby tends to his injuries. That night Mal searches the dreamlands for Sandy and finds him safe with Kiiren.

Next morning Mal tells them he knows how to get into the skrayling palazzo without Cinquedea’s help: he will go with Coby to the commedia players, pretending to be Sandy, and suggest they perform for the visitors. The plan works, and they are able to get into the palazzo unchallenged. They exchange news with Kiiren, and decide that if Hennaq comes to Venice to demand the twins be handed over to him, they will give him Olivia instead—as one of the Lost Ones, her return her to the New World will bring Hennaq great prestige. When the time comes to leave, Kiiren drugs Mal to force him to take some rest and recover from his injuries.

Sandy and Ned go looking for Charles and eventually corner him. Charles takes them back to his house and tells them about his time as a Huntsmen, and shows them the scars of an attack by a devourer: one of the nightmare creatures that live in the dreamlands. Sandy demands to know what Charles did with the necklace he took from Erishen’s corpse, and he says he sold it to Bragadin. Gabriel disguises himself as a courtesan and goes to visit Bragadin’s widow to ask for the necklace back. Signora Bragadin throws them out, but a servant gives Gabriel the necklace, saying he fears it’s cursed.

Next morning Mal escapes from the skraylings’ palazzo. Spotting Hennaq’s ship in the harbour, he pays a call and puts their proposal to him. Hennaq agrees, but says it must be soon, as he cannot stay in Venice. Mal tries to enlist Cinquedea’s help, but since he can’t give away the truth about Olivia he cannot persuade him to cooperate.

Mal goes to see Olivia to set up a meeting where he can abduct her, and ends up sleeping with her again in an effort to convince her that he’s still her faithful lover. Afterwards she says she’ll see him at the Doge’s Palace tomorrow night—and Mal wonders how the hell he’s going to abduct her with half the city watching. He tells his friends, and Sandy suggests using a tunnel through the dreamlands to transport her directly onto Hennaq’s ship. Coby adds that the firework display would be a perfect distraction.

The next day everyone attends the Ascension Day ceremony on the lagoon, in which the new Doge throws a gold ring into the water to symbolise Venice’s “marriage” with the sea. Afterwards Sandy goes to Hennaq’s ship whilst the rest of the party amuse themselves at the great fair in Saint Mark’s Square. In the evening they go to the grand reception at the palace. Coby, Ned and Gabriel mingle with other retainers in the courtyard whilst Mal, Raleigh and Berowne go up to the great hall. When the fireworks go off, Mal manages to get Olivia alone and Sandy opens a dream-tunnel, but even as they pull her through, a pack of devourers escape from Mal’s end and begin slaughtering the revellers. Sandy leaves Olivia with Hennaq and returns to shore to find Kiiren.

Holed up in a gambling den with Charles, Mal starts to formulate a plan to rid the city of the devourers. Coby and Gabriel go to the skraylings’ palazzo to try and get hold of some lightwater, only to find rioters attacking the place. Gabriel scares them off by pretending that devourers are on their way, and he and Coby slip inside. Meanwhile Mal and Ned go to the island of Burano, to enlist the aid of the Blind Lacemaker, who turns out to be Cinquedea’s grandmother.

They trace the devourers to an abandoned palazzo and surround it with bottles of lightwater to discourage the devourers from leaving. Leaving Coby, Sandy, Ned and Gabriel to deal with any devourers that come out, Mal and Charles go into the palazzo and kill all the monsters they can find. One of them fatally wounds Charles and another flees into the night and bits off Ned’s right hand before Gabriel can kill it. A third escapes them all and guts Kiiren, who has just arrived with skrayling backup, and the ambassador dies in Sandy’s arms.

They spend the next few days recovering and mourning, but Mal has a new problem: Sandy thinks Kiiren reincarnated as a Venetian infant and wants to steal him away from his parents. Mal tries to dissuade him, but Sandy is adamant. Whilst Sandy searches for Kiiren’s new host, Mal and Coby are married in Berowne’s garden. Coby has a gift for Ned: a prosthetic arm created by a Venetian craftsman to her own design.

Sandy at last locates Kiiren’s host and he and Mal steal the child, making it look like he was taken by the devourers (even though the monsters are gone, the ordinary people are understandably fearful of their return), and they all return to England.

Hennaq sets off for the New World with his captive, but as they pass the coast of Algeria his ship is boarded by Barbary corsairs and he and his crew are taken prisoner. Olivia pretends to have been taken as a slave, and the Moorish captain frees her to plot her revenge on Mal…