The gods know we belong together.
Tiger & Del, book seven
Kindle Edition, 353 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by DAW
For the first time in years, life seems settled for Tiger and Del. They run a school for sword-dancers in the South. They're raising a two-year-old daughter. They collect income from their interest in a thriving cantina. Occasionally Tiger must dance against sword-dancers bent on killing him for forsaking the oaths and vows of the circle, but for the most part it's an idyllic life. Until Tiger's twenty-five-year-old son accuses him of being "domesticated."
Thus challenged by his own flesh-and-blood to reclaim his legendary status, Tiger, accompanied by Del and his son, embarks on a journey northwards that will test his sword skill and resolve, and lead him and Del into danger from an old enemy. Though Tiger had forsaken his magic years before, he now faces the choice to reclaim it, and to wield it, in order to save those he loves.
It's been over ten years since Tiger and Del's story seemingly concluded and yet, Roberson has added two more books (the second is planned) to the series that pick up two years after we last left the Sandtiger and his bascha.
Incredibly enough, I still remember their story.
While Sword Bound dives right into the next chapter of their saga, there are still some glimpses via memory of the adventures Tiger and Del alike have survived. At present day, Tiger is forty-two years old, living a peaceful, profitable life with a (I believe) twenty-six year old, Del, their two year old daughter, Sula, and Tiger's twenty-five year old son, Neesha. The last of which has just all but dared Tiger to go away with him and have an adventure. Del, too.
It doesn't seem, at first glance, very realistic that two would abandon their young toddler to go throw their lives in harm's way, but you've got to know Tiger and Del. More importantly, you've got to know this world in which they inhabit. Taking it all in, it's a completely viable situation. Especially now that Umir has once again placed a bounty on Tiger's head in order to get him to open the magical book he once traded for the life of his son.
Their destination is a simple one. A visit to the home of Neesha's mother, a woman Tiger has not seen since the one night they spent together over twenty-five years ago. Their travel, however, is not nearly as simple. Dance after dance, Tiger is forced to prove himself over and over against the many men seeking his death, his bounty, or the glory of having bettered him. And while Tiger is ever the warrior he always was, as is Del, he very nearly loses his life just before their arrival in Neesha's home village.
To a home set aflame by raiders.
His parents alive, although his mother was raped and his stepfather very badly beaten, Neesha is faced with the horror of learning his sister was taken. And Del relives the horror of her own past through his pain, having been a victim of raiders herself when she was fifteen. Her parents were left dead, her brother captured, and she was repeatedly raped by a man who would father a daughter that Del would have taken from her more than once.
And again Del loses a child.
After Neesha's sister is rescued and returned to her family, Tiger and Del leave Neesha behind to help rebuild their family home and business. It is on their own way home that Tiger and Del are capture by sword-dancers seeking the bounty for Tiger's deliverance to Umir. Whereupon they also learn of their daughter's abduction, being held prisoner by more of Umir's minions.
With Del at death's door from a sudden miscarriage, Tiger is forced to retrieve the magic he once surrendered to be able to live a full life in order to be able to open the book of magics that he cursed shut. He does so, remarkable easily at that--if one could call a two day race against the desert easy--and manages to save his family and reunite with Neesha back at their own home.
Leaving behind a very pissed off mage who now desires the powers Tiger has reclaimed.
This was an amazing addition to the Tiger and Del series and I find myself ever so eager for the next, and possibly last, book. Again, possibly last.
4 out of 5 stars.
Previously in the series: