When Warrick's half-brother Tarin is in an accident, it puts strain on the family. Toreth and Warrick investigate, but find that dark family secrets might come to light if they press too hard for the truth. Meanwhile, Toreth's estranged mother makes one last bid to see him, resulting in a short but effective scene between her and Sara. The facts of Toreth's childhood--that he had a younger brother who died while with him, and that Toreth's mother (who had never bonded or liked her older son anyway) believed he'd killed him--come to light, but the bit that felt like a punch comes at the end of the scene. Years before, Sara had gone with Toreth to visit his parents for a strained, near silent meeting. My assumption as a reader had been that they'd guilted or forced him into visiting them; it's only after reading this scene that I realized that he was forcing himself on them, and that they had wanted literally nothing to do with their son
. And Toreth and Warrick start moving in together, but of course the almost pathologically independent Toreth finds it difficult.
The development of the characters and their relationships is fascinating, and I love that Francis weaves into that complicated political maneuverings and spy work.