A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 186: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 7

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series soon.

The next chapter, “Dragon Ship,” begins with Wintrow being forced back into consciousness by the dragon that underlies the Vivacia. His return to thought presents the ship with the revelation of what she truly is, and it breaks forcefully and painfully upon her. Wintrow staggers to the foredeck to try to comfort the ship and is rebuffed by the dragon, which contests psychically with the ship for control of the craft. Kennit is aware of the tumult and comes forward as well as the struggle continues, emerging into the physical world as the dragon tries to take over the figurehead and turn its arms against the ship. Suddenly, the figurehead loses all color and returns to being still wizardwood; the sight rattles Kennit, and, at Etta’s urging and Wintrow’s, he withdraws; Wintrow follows suit.

Probably not this kind of thing, no…
Image of a section of the Bayeux Tapestry, taken from Wikipedia and used for commentary as permitted by a Creative Commons license

Below deck, Etta tends to both captain and boy, musing on the latter’s injuries and the former’s evident despair. Wintrow reports what he can of his experiences and understanding to Kennit, the captain reacting poorly and in some disbelief to the information provided. After more conference, though, Kennit regains his confidence and purposes to reawaken the ship. He also plies Wintrow with liquor and has him put to bed, after which he takes a tour of the ship, coming to talk with the figurehead–which surprises him by answering his words in the dragon’s upbraiding voice. A tense exchange follows, and a tentative agreement between the dragon and Kennit is struck; the charm at Kennit’s wrist notes approval. And, nearby, She-Who-Remembers sings to the ship, settling in to follow her onward.

Some of what occurs in the chapter, some of the ideas that come up elsewhere and tie into Wintrow’s discussion in the chapter, are matters it occurs to me to treat in my forthcoming paper for the Tales after Tolkien Society at the 2021 International Congress on Medieval Studies; they are worth treating (as I clearly think), but because I am promised to deliver original work, I cannot give that treatment here at the moment. Later, though, I may well do so; I’ve done such things before, after all…

Aside from such things, though, there’s not a lot that strikes me about the present chapter–unless it is that Etta seems uncommonly servile in it. I am not sure how to regard it, even having read the novel more than once before; I am not certain what attitudes are being depicted, really, and so I do not know as I write this what I should make of it. But fiction, even escapist fiction, does not need to resolve all things at all times; it is okay for there to be uncertainty in the reader. Maybe there even should be some of that; if nothing else, it leaves more room for other stories to follow.

I can still use, and remain grateful for, your financial support.

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 185: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 6

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

The chapter that follows, “An Independent Woman,” begins with Serilla considering the weather as Bingtown approaches winter. She muses on the changes she had seen in Bingtown while touring it the day before, grousing about her thwarted dreams and fretting about her future prospects; the Satrap remains absent, and the ministers and hangers-on who had plied him earlier remain in place in Jamaillia–in power. She seizes upon the idea of uncovering the part of the plot against him that centers in Bingtown as a means to retain and secure her own safety and stability in the wake of the depredations done to her by the Satrap and others.

I imagine something like this for the hall…
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Serilla is distracted from her reverie by the announcement of Ronica Vestrit, and Serilla muses for a time on the situation that has led to Ronica sheltering under what had been Restart’s roof. It has eased her surveillance of and control over her, but it has also left her subject to the older woman’s harangue–the which continues when Ronica enters with a ledger in hand. A tense exchange ensues, and Ronica reviews what she knows of Serilla; Serilla gets the worse of the exchange, and Ronica leaves her, considering whether to linger in a position to overhear news from Roed Caern.

Said news comes from the Rain Wilds, Serilla realizing the importance of the message before it is delivered. When she opens it, she receives the news that the Satrap has gone missing from Trehaug in the wake of the earthquake; Caern advises her to do nothing at present, and she realizes she is slipping into his power.

Ronica is unable to glean any of the news, and she returns to her chambers, where Rache continues to work. Roncia stresses to Rache that she is free to leave, owing her nothing; Rache replies that the Vestrits are the only ones who have shown her kindness in Bingtown. She also notes news, reporting to Ronica about the state of the town and identifying Sparse Kelter as a man of some interest. Ronica notes that she will continue to do what she can to ensure that Bingtown survives as itself and that her family has a place to which to return. They confer further, and Ronica has to be reminded of the current and former slave population–the Tattooed–in Bingtown in her plans. Rache explicates the distributed system among the Tattooed, which Amber had helped set up, and notes Amber’s assertion of being a prophet.

Later, Ronica reports to the Traders’ Concourse, the condition of which is detailed. She sets about cleaning and lighting the hall, following an old tradition, and she is soon joined by other Traders, who join in the same work. It has a salutary effect as Ronica reflects on Bingtown’s history, but Ronica is dismayed that the meeting waits to convene until Serilla arrives. When the Companion does, she does so ostentatiously and imperiously, and she is taken aback when the Council presents a plan upon which she had not been consulted. Citing precedent, the Council pushes a moratorium on confiscation and eviction, as well as increasing civic duty-time. Serilla tries to regain control of the situation, of her situation, and does not succeed; Grag Tenira manages to convene a panel to investigate Restart’s death.

Ronica considers Serilla and muses upon her suddenly altered situation as the Traders’ meeting proceeds and concludes. She confers with Grag as the latter offers her a ride home and affirms his belief in the Vestrits’ loyalty to Bingtown amid wry jests regarding his suit for Althea’s hand.

The chapter does offer some attention to the enslaved population in Bingtown, which is not always the case, and the reminder that Ronica evidently needs to recall them has some…uncomfortable overtones. But that’s always part of the problem, of course, that those in power or recently dispossessed of it tend to overlook or ignore those without, especially the most abject among them. Such matters are more prominent now than when the novel was released, of course, even though they were certainly present at the time, but I reread as I am now, remembering little of who I was then except that I was a little shit who thought himself far better than he was. I like to think I have improved; I hope I have, at least. And that Ronica has the decency to be ashamed of her oversight when she is reminded of it is a hopeful sign; the habits of a lifetime are not easily set aside, but they can be set aside, with attention and care–and more of us can afford to pay such a price than do.

Buy me a cup of coffee, maybe?

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 184: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 5

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

The next chapter, “Paragon and Piracy,” opens with Althea tending Clef, who has been on the receiving end of Lavoy’s anger. Althea tries to remain outside the conflict, but she muses on its circumstances and the near-confrontation between the first mate and Amber about the incident. After Clef is finished and heads off to his rack, Althea muses on her situation and her thoughts about her family’s. When, still musing, she speaks with the ship, she is surprised to hear the figurehead speak eagerly of confronting Kennit. It disquiets her somewhat, and she is soon joined at the railing by Amber, with whom she confers about Clef and Lavoy. Althea notes that Amber seems unwell, and the carpenter notes it is an occasional, non-contagious malady; Althea directs her to inform Brashen, which prompts consideration and conversation of the Paragon‘s captain.

Elo Hold On Tight GIF - Elo HoldOnTight ElectricLightOrchestra GIFs
Like the song says…
Image from Tenor.com, used for commentary.

The talk is interrupted by Jek’s arrival at the railing with the other two women; Althea considers her and her freedom briefly before talk returns to Brashen by way of the rarity of people fulfilling and enjoying their dreams. Some good-natured teasing of Althea ensues, although it does not necessarily all land well. Amber gently rebukes Jek for pushing the jokes farther than they ought to go, and Lavoy interrupts the conversation with a summons from the captain for Althea. Althea tries to defuse the tension between Amber and Lavoy before she reports, but she is unsuccessful.

Althea considers the ship and the captain as she reports, and Brashen confers with her regarding ideas Lavoy has put across to him, seeking to verify them before pursuing them. Between them, they suss out Lavoy’s biases, that his advanced plan to play at piracy as a means to get close to Kennit to attack him and forcibly retake the Vivacia is a ruse for him to take the Paragon for his own. The two confer about the likelihood of violence, Althea considering her lack of experience in that regard, and Lavoy arriving to report Amber unconscious on the foredeck interrupts them; Althea hastens off in worry to see to the carpenter.

As I reread the chapter, I found myself taken by the comments about how few people are able to live out their dreams, and how few of those find that their dreams are what they wanted them to be. I know I am being an affective reader again to think on it in the terms I do, but I cannot help but consider my own abortive dreams once again, my having wanted to be first a band director, then an English teacher, then an English professor, and succeeding at achieving and retaining exactly none of those positions. I was unable to achieve them, and I found and continue to find–because I remain in contact with a number of people in the field, not only because I continue to do such occasional bits of scholarship as this and continue to participate in the Tales after Tolkien Society–that the life of the mind that I had thought to follow is not at all what I had thought it would be. I know I am better off where I am now, but I continue to have trouble adjusting to life outside the ivory tower, despite never really having done well in it; I do not know that I will ever be free of the folly.

Can you spare a bit for me?

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 183: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 4

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

The following chapter, “Tintaglia’s Flight,” opens with the titular dragon on the wing, hunting and exulting in her own importance and beauty. She kills a doe and eats it greedily, exulting in the sensation of it, before recalling the nagging feeling of debt to the puny humans that freed her; she returns to the air to begin to discharge it.

The Tawny Man Book 3: Fool's Fate - Tintaglia
The titular dragon…
Source in the image, used for commentary.

Selden huddles against Reyn, who considers their ongoing dilemma. He resigns himself to death before Tintaglia returns, taking the two up as they marvel at her, and she flies them to Trehaug. There is tumult in the city as the dragon descends into it, depositing Reyn and Selden upon the ground; Keffria runs to her son’s side, assuring herself of his safety, and calls for Malta. Tintaglia affirms that Malta lives and makes to depart in annoyance; Reyn bids her by her name help Malta. She reluctantly agrees, but she cites the wrongs done her kind by the Khuprus family as she takes him aloft in haste and power. They spot Malta, who remains in a boat on the caustic Rain Wild River, and the dragon rebukes Reyn for his presumption as she takes him back to Trehaug to see to her rescue. Jani tends to her son after the dragon leaves and he calls for the liveship Kendry to be put to sail in search of Malta; some take heart that the Satrap yet lives, and Reyn bids himself be taken aboard the liveship to join in the rescue.

The chapter is a brief one, serving as more of a bridge than as a discreet narrative chunk; it seems meant to bring characters where they need to be rather than to develop them or to unfold more of the story, as such. With one exception: Reyn notes a peculiar extravagance in Selden’s speech as he speaks of and to Tintaglia, words that read to me as not apt to come from the mouth of even a precocious child. (I have one such, after all, and she is fierce, indeed, but I doubt she would be quite so sanguine faced with a dragon in the flesh. Not that I would, either.) From the perspective of a reread, I can say that it is foreshadowing; what it foreshadows will, of course, have to wait until I get to that point in the rereading–assuming, of course, that I remember to note it. I am not so young or deft of mind as I used to be, and things crowd against one another and show each other out of my too-swollen head anymore…

Can you spare some change?

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 182: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 3

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

A chapter titled “Wintrow” comes next, and it opens with the Vivacia considering the departure from Others’ Island and calling for a healer for Wintrow. Kennit does what he can to allay the liveship’s fears for the Vestrit youth, but it is not much; the ship speaks to an absence of Wintrow’s psychic presence within her, one that gives her cause to fear. Kennit attempts to insinuate himself further with the ship, but the Vivacia rebuffs him, if gently. He withdraws, and as he does, the charm on his wrist mocks him, and he ponders matters as he makes for Wintrow’s cabin.

Photo by M.Y. Kemiktv Youtube on Pexels.com

Within, Etta tends to the unconscious, injured Wintrow, detailing the harm done him and girding herself against the feared pain of his death. And not only for herself; she muses on what Wintrow’s death would do to Kennit. She voices her concerns to the unconscious boy and is startled by Kennit’s entry. After a brief discussion, he orders that Wintrow be taken to the foredeck.

Within himself, Wintrow finds himself conferring with the psychic echoes of the dragon that the Vivacia should have been. It is beginning to reassert itself through the layers of the persona that have been forced upon it, unknowingly, by the Vestrits. He is jolted by being moved, and the underlying dragon begins to force him back to health and wakefulness.

Kennit watches as Wintrow is brought on deck, and he assesses the youth’s condition; he looks like to die. He calls to the youth and bids Etta begin to tend him again. Within himself, Wintrow begins to act to repair his body and speed it along. He returns to consciousness, and Kennit takes the credit for redeeming him from death.

Following the Vivacia, She Who Remembers reaches out to the ship, hoping for a response. She receives none, though she is sure she is heard.

In the second section of the chapter, Etta, musing on Kennit’s exaltation and success in forging a cohesive polity in the Pirate Isles, wonders “What kind of a man harbored such dreams, let alone brought them to fruit?” As I read the novel again–and, truly, it has been a while since I last cracked it open; I think it was in advance of a paper I wrote for Kalamazoo some years back–it occurs to me that depictions of Kennit do work as an answer to that question. What kind of person dreams of building a kingdom for themself and actually goes about doing it? Not a good one, seems to be the answer, despite the legends that creep up and stories that are told in later years. What readings I have done about real-life foundational figures suggest that so much is true, at least, and even in myth and legend, Utopian founders are hardly saints; Malory’s Arthur, for example, mimics the Scriptural Herod in ordering the deaths of babies–and, more, to kill his own (incest-born) child. So much for the Once and Future King–and so much for the Pirate King.

There are, of course, other readings to perform. I know it well; I’ve done a few of them, after all. It would be easy, particularly given the discourse in the present chapter, to read the Liveship Traders novels as commentary on the legacies of (colonialist) oppression, how even those ignorant of historical wrongs benefit from their perpetration. Wintrow, after all, had not known how the liveships came to be, although his family fortune and (admittedly formerly) privileged position are entangled in such a ship; he benefits from the fruits of trees fertilized by shitty deeds and worse. And the parallels to the readers’ world invite consideration that more would benefit from conducting.

Care to send a bit of help my way?

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 181: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 2

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

The next chapter, “Traders and Traitors,” begins with Ronica hiding and observing a hooded figure approach her door, her home having been ransacked by Chalcedeans and Bingtowners alike. She rehearses the events leading up to her present from her last appearance: the upset after the Summer Ball, her flight, fighting in the town and in the harbor. Following the fracas, in the brief interval in which Bingtown was free, she had made to flee with Rache for her old family farm, pausing only briefly to pay feeble respects to the slain Restart. Meanwhile, civil unrest had broken out, and neighbors had turned on one another in short order, even harassing Ronica and Rache as they fled. The depredations she saw along the way persuaded Ronica to return to her home, Rache accompanying her, and the two had settled in and hunkered down in an outbuilding, holding up as best they could.

Doja Cat - Boss B*tch (from Birds of Prey: The Album) [Official Music Video]
Image from Atlantic Records, here, used for commentary.

The hooded figure is revealed to be Cerwin Trell when Ronica confronts him. He reports on public perception of the Vestrits, that they had turned traitors to Bingtown along with Restart, and he notes his own father’s increasing anger at the Vestrit family. Ronica notes that Malta had escaped Bingtown, and Cerwin reports on the current state of the city. It is still free, although supplies are running low, and there is still violence in the streets at night. Old and New Traders are at odds, with others caught between them, and no negotiations are ongoing. Ronica reassures him that his work to remain outside the fray is wise, and she asks if she would be well served to meet with Serilla, who is still working as the Satrap’s representative; Cerwin has no good answer. As he leaves, Ronica takes stock of her ruined home and moves forward.

In Restart’s home, Serilla is disturbed in her ruminations by Ronica’s arrival; she tries to put the older woman off as she rehearses her own tenuous situation, but can only delay for a short time. She realizes that a conspiracy against the Satrap had long been in place and that the rash actions of Bingtown Traders had hindered but not completely overturned it, but she is not ready for Ronica to confront her with her demands for adherence to local statute and protocol. When she calls for aid from other Traders, she finds them stymied in large part by the force of Ronica’s personality; she rebukes one of the Traders for Davad’s death, which he does not deny. Nor yet are her accusations regarding the injuries to her family denied, even as she argues against Serilla’s authority. At length, she makes her exit, and the other Traders take council from Serilla regarding how they will proceed. One of them, Roed Caern, is asked to return later; Serilla will send him after the Vestrits.

The present chapter includes quite a bit of explication, which makes sense for the early part of a novel–and more so given the relative gap in time between the presented characters’ previous appearances and the present ones. Put simply, there is a lot of catching up to do, as would be the case were the characters people being encountered again after several busy weeks away. (One of the few advantages of spreading a re-reading out as I am doing with this one is that it affords time between entries; reading serially is a different experience than reading in single sittings, as I well know and as I expect many of my readers–if you are many, as I hope you are–also know. The time offers greater similarity between the readers’ experience and the characters’, which, even if it is part of an affective reading, does help with immersion and verisimilitude. So there’s that.)

I am again put in mind of various independence movements in North America (the continent for reasons), where colonies rebel against colonial powers at some cost to themselves–and with no small amount of fractiousness within themselves, as well. Bingtown had not been a unified community leading up to the tumult at the Summer Ball, and the tension within it was bound to increase with the events of that evening–not only because it makes narrative sense that they do so, but also because people tend to exploit outside stresses to act in their own interests. Prevailing upset allows opportunity for realignment, after all, and why wouldn’t someone–especially someone heavily invested in a mercantile, transactional socioeconomic situation–take the chance to avail themselves of it?

If you like what I’m doing, can you spare a bit to help me keep doing it?

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 180: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 1

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

The first chapter of the novel, “The Rain Wilds,” opens with Malta rehearsing recent events as she paddles herself, the Satrap, and Kekki down the Rain Wild River. Her passengers complain as she works, and her regard for them sours further than it already had. Their ineptitude hampers her efforts, and the three are swept past Trehaug and on down the Rain Wild River; Malta begins to despair of their situation.

Not an ideal situation, no.
Image by Katrin Sapranova on Tumblr, used for commentary.

Keffria frets about her younger children as she continues to assist as she can with rescue and recovery efforts in Trehaug. Jani Khuprus joins her in concern for the younger children, noting that the situation below ground is untenable and that crews have been redirected following a mandated rest. Some rescues have been effected, and help is on the way. Too, Jani notes her slim hopes that Reyn has found the Vestrit children and is guiding them out by another way. Later, as the rest proceeds, Keffria’s injuries are tended to and Jani notes commonplaces for quakes in the area. Keffria considers who she is against the possibility that her husband and children are all gone or dead, and her conversation on that point with Jani is interrupted by reports of a dragon having been sighted. The two proceed to where they hope to find Reyn and Malta.

Reyn and Selden take stock of themselves and the changed situation in the wake of the dragon’s departure. Having witnessed the emergence of the dragon, they find their perspectives on the world altered. Their situation remains dangerous, however; the chamber in which they yet remain is filling with mud, but Reyn begins to enact a plan of escape. But the instability of the chamber tells upon their efforts, even so.

The first section is what strike me most as I read the chapter again. Malta’s mental commentary about the Satrap and Kekki rings true for me; I have often thought that those ostensibly in power are more venial and less effective than might be hoped. I am also certain that similar thoughts are and have been held about me, seldom as I might be in others’ thoughts. Certainly, the Satrap’s obloquy sounds authentic, particularly in the wake of continuing violence against women and BIPOC. (Yes, I know I should read with more of an eye towards the novel’s contexts of composition and publication, but I inhabit my own context, and it’s not a happy one for a great many people who act as entitled as the Satrap, and with much less cause for it. Not that he really has much cause.) And it does seem to reinforce a character trope of which Hobb seems to be fond; I note the parallels between Cosgo and Regal, as I think all must who read both Farseer and Liveship Trader works…

Now that spring has sprung, can you lend a hand?

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 179: Ship of Destiny, Prologue

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

The prologue, “She Who Remembers,” begins with the titular serpent rehearsing her history to herself after being freed by Wintrow Vestrit. She muses on Wintrow’s efforts and her own efforts on his behalf, as well, as she considers the mystery of the liveship she follows and calls out to others of her kind, to no avail. When she does encounter another serpent that responds to her, she is shocked by the bestiality of those responses, and she forcibly awakens the memories dormant within him. The gesture is not appreciated, and the awakened serpent bemoans consciousness before swimming off to die. In her despair, she casts about, catching the echo of a call and responding, but finding none who could have uttered it.

Ship of Destiny (Liveship Traders, #3) by Robin Hobb
The cover of the version from which I work…
Image taken from Goodreads, used for commentary

As might have been expected, the current chapter flows smoothly from the end of the previous novel, functioning more as a continuation of a single book than as the beginning of another. And it does an admirable job reminding readers of–or introducing readers new to the series to; I’ve been known to suggest students start reading series with their ends, and I’ve been dropped into a given series midst any number of times by my freelance writing–the stakes involved in the milieu of Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings novels. Extinction of a sentient species is not something to take lightly, nor yet are the implications, as Hobb’s later work reminds, of another sentience being present and active in the world. (Another take on such comes to mind.) Being reminded of it–along with the gloss of recent events that has typified serial publication throughout its modern history–brings readers swiftly (back) into the narrative world, the issue made immediate through the sudden immersion in its importance even as an Otherness that rings of but does not quite coincide with the post/colonial is emphasized by the nonhuman intelligences on display as at work in the world.

So, yeah, no big stakes or anything. Just another good read getting underway.

New book, new request for support…

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 178: Mad Ship, Chapter 40

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

As an epilogue, “The Memory of Wings” begins with the serpents that follow Maulkin conferring about their urgent haste. They are weary with the speed Maulkin urges from them. Maulkin bids them rest, and they reflect on what they have learned. It reminds them that matters have changed substantially, and they puzzle out that an environmental cataclysm has confused them–and the depredations of the liveship builders have robbed them of guides who should have awaited them. The serpent Tellur proposes hunting liveships; Mauklin restrains him and offers to take such liveships as they find but notes that hunting them is not ideal. They have to migrate or die.

She Who Remembers
A rewarded effort?
She Who Remembers by Crooty on DeviantArt, used for commentary.

The serpent Wintrow freed from Others Island rehearses circumstances as she moves to follow the Vivacia towards the mainland and her intended purpose. She Who Remembers must return her memories to her kin, sharing what she knows with them.

The epilogue makes a neat bookend with the prologue, the titles of the two selections mirroring one another no less than the brevity and non-human focus of the materials. Once again, the novel is re-grounded in the narrative milieu, the chapter serving as a reminder that there is a non-human intelligence very much at work in the story and reminding readers that that intelligence is increasingly concerned with the tiny hairless things that cluster about the cast-off casings of its dead.

Whether the opening of the next book in the series offers as smooth a transition as the prologue of the present novel does, I do not recall at present. Fortunately, I will have opportunity to remind myself as the rereading series continues; thank you for following along with me!

I could sure use some more support.

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 177: Mad Ship, Chapter 39

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

The following chapter, “Dragon Rising,” opens with Reyn considering the sunrise from his imprisonment in the collapsed Crowned Rooster chamber, where Selden sleeps. When the boy wakes, Reyn suggests a plan for getting out of the chamber, digging out the one place where the sunlight makes its way in and hope of egress shines down; Selden notes the plan will not work, as the wizardwood upon which they would have to stand is “melting.” Reyn puzzles at the phenomenon, noting that liveships do not fare thus; Tintaglia enters his mind to announce herself as she emerges from her cocoon.

Tintaglia hatches
Yeah, this.
TigRaido’s Tintaglia hatches on DeviantArt, used for commentary.

Tintaglia’s efforts to free herself imperil Reyn, who is torn between fascination at her beauty and self-preservation, and Selden as they enact their own escape. Reyn’s thoughts turn with hope to Malta as he and Selden do more to effect their return to the surface. Tintaglia, meanwhile, exults in her freedom and thinks to fly off–but she is dissuaded by some stray thought and makes to redeem both Reyn and Malta, who have aided her.

It is a brief chapter, another bit of denouement for the present novel and setup for the next. The separation from the preceding chapter does serve 1) to help keep the narrative threads separated and 2) allows for spacing between chapters in the narrative sequence that promotes suspense; the previous entry in Reyn’s story does appear to leave him as if for dead. So there are reasons to have the chapter broken out, although I do not know that they make the chapter more effective than consolidation of the various stories would have done. Still, as a brief, penultimate section of the novel, it does well–and I do look forward to getting into the next one soon!

Your kind contribution remains appreciated.