Published: November 1, 2016
Publisher: DAW Books
Series: The Maradaine Constabulary #2
Pages: 389 (Mass Market)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Mixing high fantasy and mystery, this is Marshall Ryan Maresca’s second novel in the Maradaine Constabulary series, companion to DAW’s Maradaine Novels.
The neighborhood of the Little East is a collision of cultures, languages, and traditions, hidden away in the city of Maradaine. A set of streets to be avoided or ignored. When a foreign dignitary is murdered, solving the crime falls to the most unpopular inspectors in the Maradaine Constabulary: exposed fraud Satrine Rainey, and uncircled mage Minox Welling.
With a murder scene deliberately constructed to point blame toward the Little East, Rainey is forced to confront her former life, while Welling’s ignorance of his own power threatens to consume him. And these few city blocks threaten to erupt into citywide war unless the constabulary solves the case.
An Import of Intrigue is the second novel in Maresca’s Maradaine Constabulary series, which is amazing cop fantasy. Is there actually a sub-genre term for this? It was essential that I catch up on this series prior to starting his latest release, The Imposters of Aventil, as it is the first Maradaine book where the characters cross-over. Couldn’t have any accidental spoilers now, could I? Anyway, this was by no means a burden as Maresca’s books are some of the most entertaining I’ve ever read.
Once again, we’re back on an out of the ordinary case with Inspectors Third Class Satrine Rainey and Minox Welling. Both are admirably clever and unfortunately struggling with personal issues – Satrine’s dealing with the fallout of having her “qualifications” revealed in the previous book and an enemy from her past, while Minox has a magic related problem that only grows worse as time passes. On top of this, they’re investigating a murder that’s becoming a bit of an international mess and the powers above are breathing down their necks, AND there’s turmoil in the streets of Little East. All in all, things are a hot mess in Maradaine.
Satrine and Minox are an awesome duo whose strengths and weaknesses counterbalance well. Satrine is definitely more socially adept, though Minox has the deduction skills of Sherlock Holmes, and both are intensely capable combatants. Minox’s status as an Uncircled mage is both a benefit and a hinderance as has been demonstrated in both Maradaine Constabulary books – his additional skills are always a benefit to the case, though he often can’t be in proximity to those that could sense him, plus he has unique weaknesses only possessed by magic users. Satrine is a loving mother, main provider for her household, and former agent of Druth Intelligence. This provides her with an extensive background in secrecy, stealth, combat, and an unconventional education. I love that more of her background is revealed in this book – there are a few stunning pieces of information dropped here and there. The secondary characters – particularly Corrie Minox are also well-done. Corrie is present enough to have several of her own POV chapters, giving us additional insight to her goals, personality, and even relationship with her brother Minox.
Overall, this was another excellent building block in the world of Maradaine and I greatly look forward to the next installment. I was somewhat disappointed that the resolution of the murder felt somewhat convenient. There was no way that a reader could have surmised the true culprit, though suspicion is certainly thrown onto enough characters. If one of you did guess who it was, please tell me what clued you in! I like that MRM is able to slowly build up the details of the districts/regions of Maradaine by having all these different series. His skill at both character and world building do him tremendous credit as a writer, planner, and creative mind. I am yet again justified in saying he is one of my favorite authors and I think he’s grossly underappreciated (or unknown) by fantasy consumers.