Following up the innovative The Legend of the Firefish, The Hand that Bears the Sword is longer and is twice as good as its predessecor, mostly because of its complex plot structure. Unlike the first book in the Trophy Chase, The Hand that Bears the Sword has three to four parallel stories along with the main plot.
The plot itself is basically about a war between Nearing Vast and Dramune. Packer is called out on the Trophy Chase, which has been seized from Scatter Wilkins. Panna is "asked" to stay at the palace while he is gone, but Prince Mather has ulterior motives for her. Meanwhile, Talon is back in her own country. Polivka does a good job at developing her character instead of letting her become a ridiculous villain. All the rest of the characters from the first book are back with more.
Not a single page is boring, all the way up until the end. And I'm not just saying that.
The Hand that Bears the Sword is one of the top ten best books ever and keeps the reader wanting the next book.
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