Cloistered in the sanctuary in La Serenissima, Melisande asked for Phedre's help to find her young son Imriel, who has gone missing. Meanwhile, Phedre still searched for the one name that would enable her to free her best friend Hyacinthe from his prison.
Here, we see a mature Phedre, who is contented with her life with Joscelin. They have also come to a compromise each can live with regarding their relationship. Yet, Joscelin will be tested once again as the Perfect Companion, whose love will drive him to follow Phedre to the ends of the earth, wherever she may choose to go.
If ever Phedre has a weakness, I don't know if Melissande would stand a greater percentage or Joscelin. Certainly, Phedre loved Joscelin, yet, she's obsessed with Melissande, and it seems Melissande is able to get Phedre to respond to her sexually in a manner that Joscelin couldn't (or didn't even want to, because violence isn't in his nature). Perhaps, it's because they're mirrors of one another, Melissande the person who doles out the violence while Phedre is the receiver, as she craves such and without which her body wouldn't be satisfied.
That aside, Phedre and Joscelin embark on another exciting and oft-times scary adventure into new lands, after Phedre's insistence and Joscelin's anguished but willing compliance, to rescue Imriel so that they could have the lead Melissande promised her in order to seek the name of the One God to free Hyacinthe. Phedre's loyalty and friendship to Hyacinthe is to be commended, as she had studied for ten long years to save her friend. Perhaps there was even a measure of guilt that drove her to go to such lengths, for if Hyacinthe hadn't spoken up, Phedre would have been the one to serve as apprentice to the Master of the Straits.
I can't imagine how she or Joscelin managed to stay sane after Phedre's ordeal with the Mahrkagir in Darsanga. If you think Phedre suffered when Waldemar Selig tried to skin her alive, read this book and you'll be shocked anew. Yet it was Imri, whose trust Phedre has gained slowly and who thirsts for a family, that drew Phedre and Joscelin together again.
At first, I was ready to hate Imriel, not because of his heritage, but because of the way he treated Phedre in Darsanga, when he still distrusted her. But like all of Ms. Carey's characters, he slowly wormed his way into my heart and I couldn't wait to read his story.