Bound in Blood continues not long after the events of To Ride a Rathorn. The opening reveals the aftermath of the failed assassination attempt of Randiroc, the true Randir heir whose position was usurped by Rawneth, The Witch of Wilden’s son. Jame and one of her classmates, a boy named Gari are on hand to witness a near insurrection among the Randir Kendar, which will lead to plot complications later down the road, since the insurrection is only averted by Rawneth causing her people to forget the names of the ones who died, which in turn causes them to go varying degrees of bonkers.
After a brief visit to Gothregor on Autumn Eve to see Tori and take place in a ritual honoring/remembering the dead, Jame returns to Tentir where things fail to settle down. Some of the highlights of Jame’s most recent adventures that occur while attempting to get an education: she gets closer to learning more about the events that led up to the massacre of most of the Knorth women, and exactly what that had to do with the death of her extremely unlamented uncle Greshan. She continues to make friends in strange places, gets more deeply involved with the Merikit as the Earth Wife’s Favorite, rescues Gorbel from an extremely invasive willow, and manages to ride a rathorn without falling off. She also discovers important things about taking responsibility for ones actions and one’s mistakes (Jame is like an after school special, except totally not.)
While Jame is running around at her usual break neck pace, Tori is still floundering under the weight of his position, and his extremely mixed feelings for his sister. (It doesn’t help that he’s still being haunted by his father, which it turns out, is apparently a literal haunting, instead of Tori being crazy.) He receives advice (and family counseling in some cases) from Jame’s friend Marcarn and the Jaran Matriarch Trishien. This leads to him understanding just a little bit more about himself and his sister. (He also learns that the road to long hard winters and starvation is paved with good intentions.)
Other incidents of note include Kindrie discovering that he isn’t a bastard, Jorin making friends with Mothra a darkling crawler, Gorbel complaining because Jame won’t let him kill anything, and Timmon mistaking Tori for Jame. (Not as impossible as you might think from the boobtastic cover art!) Bound in Blood is another smart, engaging fantasy novel from P.C. Hodgell. Stylistically speaking, the book is much faster paced and less “dense” than previous books in the series. (By dense I mean detail/description heavy.) This is probably not a good book to start with, since its a book from the middle of a series, but for people returning (or just discovering) the Kencyr novels, this book is a real treat.