In Antiagon Fire, Quaeryt backs up his wife Vaelora when they are sent on a diplomatic mission to Khel. They also attempt to meet with Bovarian High Holders who don’t show much interest in cooperating with the regime change. The Bovarian High Holders flee to Antiago, which refuses to repatriate them and shows clear signs of being antagonistic to Bhayar’s plans of conquest. (As you do when you’re an independent country that would like to stay that way.) This of course forces Quaeryt to head into Antiago where he runs into Antiago’s imagers.
Also in this book, Quaeryt encounters a mysterious secret society in Khel, and experiences peculiar apparently supernatural visitations. There are also a number of prophecies that he may or may not be fulfilling. Being a skeptic, Quaeryt isn’t at all sure of what to do about all of this except continue as he has in his efforts at creating a place for imagers in the society that he hopes Bhayar can create. Our Protagonist gets dragged from pillar to post in this book, facing a number of challenges that result in personal tragedy and Pyrrhic victories.
There are some interesting interactions between Bhayar and Quaeryt which seem to indicate that Bhayar thinks of Quaeryt as a friend more than Quaeryt considers Bhayar a friend. This seems to continue the theme of Quaeryt being a character who is deceptive and manipulative for the sake of making the world a better place, but who does not actually connect with other people in a social sense. There is also an underlying theme to the prophecies and folklore Quaeryt has uncovered concerning Pharsi “lost ones.” (What keeps coming up is a curse or prophecy that Quaeryt will do great things, but his name will go unremembered, or that “lost ones” are cursed to serve and be in the background due to some sin of pride and arrogance.)
There continue to be parallels between Quaeryt and Rholan, a religious leader and founder of the religion that plays a huge part in the storyline of this series, and the hints seem to point toward Rholan having also been a “lost one” or at least an imager. (I am wondering if when this particular story arc is over, if we’ll be finding out about Rholan next. That would be an interesting series I think.) This is another tightly written book with a good combination of political intrigue and military action. Quaeryt continues to be interestingly clueless while also being completely ruthless in his goals.It will be interesting to see how, or if this all comes together.