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A welcome return to the vividly realized city of Astreiant with its intricate magics and deadly politics, Point of Knives takes place in the interval between the widely praised earlier novels Point of Hopes and Point of Dreams. A fantastical mystery and a rousing adventure, Point of Knives also reveals for the first time the beginning of the romance between Adjunct Point Nicolas Rathe and the Leaguer Philip Eslingen.

The events of Midsummer have not been forgotten by the Fall Balance, and Nicolas Rathe can hardly complain that they’ve done any harm to his reputation, or to the reputation of the Points in general. However, newfound fame has meant that he’s more in demand as an investigator, and the increased recognition and workload make it difficult to pursue friendship, or anything more, with the handsome former soldier Philip Eslingen, his comrade in the rescue of the stolen children. Eslingen’s employer Hanselin Caiazzo is still deeply involved in any number of questionably legal ventures. Any association between Rathe, a representative of Astreiant’s queen, and Caiazzo’s bodyguard Eslingen is regarded with suspicion from both sides of the law.

When a father and son rumored to be “summer-sailors,” or pirates, are murdered on the same night and Rathe finds Eslingen standing over the son’s body, Eslingen proves his innocence easily enough, despite loyally refusing to say exactly what errand he’s running for Caiazzo at that untimely hour of the morning. But when the old man’s grandson and the son’s self-proclaimed wife quarrel over the son’s meager belongings, and Caiazzo dispatches Eslingen to represent his interests in the investigation, Rathe begins to wonder if their friendship is going to survive. Or whether he and Eslingen will survive at all.

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