The concept of being able to “read” people takes on a variety of abilities through the witches in this fantasy. There are many who hold magical power that different groups want to master: the ability to know whether someone tells the truth, the ability to “smell” and find any foe, and the ability to see the threads that connect people to one another and understand the making of your enemies and friends.
Safiya and Iseult are witches on the run, after a robbery gone wrong against a powerful man and his Bloodwitch bodyguard, the one who can “smell” true witches powers. In other words, he is on the hunt for Safi – a Truthwitch. The larger plot is a 20 year truce about to be lifted between different empires. This is where readers meat Prince Merik, the son of a King, but one who holds no real magic. He is, therefore, an ostracized disappointment and his sister will be the powerful Queen, and skilled in magic, after their father dies.
The women must separate for survival and each begin a separate journey which they must overcome stereotypes, arranged marriages, and true power. Once reunited you would hope for an easier journey for the friends, but that is not the case. As they are hunted, they must rely on new partnerships – even though they are only contracts for money. Still adventure abounds, even with the occasional confusion of “Now which witch is this?”
Series The Witchlands continues with not two, but three planned sequels.