(Demon Cycle, #3) Note: I missed the 1st 2 books, but they were filled in without any info-dumping. Nice work.
Main idea: There are demons, and the Deliverer is going to save humanity. The not-Muslims in the South and the not-Christians in the North each have their own messiah. Will the two work together, or Can There Be Only One [tm]? Seriously, it would be so interesting if they could co-operate! But no, people have to fight people while fighting off demons too. The not-Muslims train hard to fight demons (side effect – they can fight men too) while the not-Christians are much less skilled.
The woman in the sheer red silk on the cover is the Southern Messiah’s main wife, and she is a holy woman. She can tell the future with her dice made of demon bones, just like every Holy Woman, but she’s really good at it. And good politically – she can’t hold power on her own but her dice led her to marry the man who could become the Deliverer. The book dips into her past – growing up with her mother, becoming a holy novice, and the women’s politics that almost got her killed.
Meanwhile, the North is trying to fight both demons and Southern invaders, and they are losing like anything.
Meanwhile again, both the Northern and Southern messiahs have committed morally questionable acts. Are we-the-readers supposed to forgive the not-Christian while condemning the not-Muslim? I think Peter Brett presents both cultures as very complex, with shades of good and evil, raw power and subtle power, group-goals and personal-goals coming into conflict. Choose your own hero.
Cool trick – each viewpoint character has a symbol at the start of the chapter, so the reader knows who is coming up.
This book left my brain feeling overloaded, and I plan on reading something very light next.