This is the third part of the Elemental Logic series, and the weakest. Karis and her rag tag band of Sainnite and Shaftalese allies are still trying to bring all of Shaftal together. Most of the book follows either the Sainnite general Clement and her Shaftalese cow-doctor lover Seth, or Zanja and her travel back into Shaftal's past. I was frustrated with the Seth and Clement plot, because I wanted more details on how Clement subdued and convinced the Sainnites to surrender and less on Clement's inner pain. I was even more frustrated with Zanja's plot, because at the beginning of the book it seems like she'll be dealing with the Border People and instead she spends the entire book trudging the past trying to learn glyphs. Language is a huge theme in these books, but so is colonization and invasion, and I really wish more time (any time?) had been spent on a plot regarding the border lands. I wouldn't demand so much of this series if any other writers were working on similar issues of cultural identity, peace, nationalism, etc.
This a good book in a fantastic, thought-provoking and truly unique series.