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Hawk    by Steven Brust order for
by Steven Brust
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Fans of Steven Brust's long running Jhereg fantasies (starring assassin antihero Vlad Taltos and his winged, wisecracking sidekick Loiosh) have watched him dodging relentless attacks from his old associates' hit men (he broke some of their most serious rules). Finally tired of it and wanting desperately to be able to spend time with his small son, Vlad concocts an elaborate, subtle sting in the latest episode, Hawk.

Part of the Prologue is a spoof on the intro to Burn Notice: 'When you have a price on your head you've got nothing: no contacts, no access to your operating capital, no chance to see your estranged wife and eight-year-old son ... Bottom line: As long as you're wanted, you're not staying anywhere.' It's after Vlad tries to see his son in South Adrilankha that he's almost killed with a Morganti sword. His own magical weapon partially heals him but it's tough going.

Vlad makes a plan, and gets help from all his old friends and (more or less) allies to put the pieces together - 'a hawk's egg, a cloak with reinforced hems, a ring, and an enchanted lockpick.' When he carries it out, he'll either get his life back or lose it - along with his soul. He makes a very dangerous deal with the Demon, one of the Jhereg bosses, knowing that the latter will not keep his end of the bargain. And he spends quality time with his old friend Kragar.

It's quite the sting, but there's a twist to its execution that will keep Vlad's life exciting for a long time to come, something that series fans will appreciate. Hawk is an exciting, and amusing episode, one of the very best in this long-running and popular series. Great fun!

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