Author: Livia Blackburne
Publication: Lion's Quill Press (January 17, 2014)
Description: James is skilled, efficient, and deadly, a hired blade navigating the shifting alliances of a deteriorating Assassin's Guild. Then he meets Thalia, an alluring but troubled dancing girl who offers him a way out--if he'll help her kill a powerful nobleman. With the Guild falling apart, it just might be worth the risk. But when you live, breathe, and love in a world that's forever flirting with death, the slightest misstep can be poison.
Poison Dance is approximately 14,000 words long, or 54 printed pages.
Note from the Author: "I originally conceived of James as a supporting character in my novel Midnight Thief, and I quickly fell in love with him. As the enigmatic leader of the Assassins Guild, James was cool, competent and intriguing. He was the type of character who invited questions. How had he come to power at such a young age? What was behind his hatred of the nobility? Had he loved before? Was he even capable of love? I wanted to tell his story, and here's the result."
My Thoughts: This novella was a nice introduction to the world of Forge and some of the people who are trying to survive there. James is young but a seasoned killer. His first kill was his own father. He killed him because he was beating James' sister who died of her injuries. He was taken in by the leader of the Assassin's Guild. Now, that leader is dead, and James doesn't get along with the new man in charge.
When he is approached by a young dancer to take a commision to kill a nobleman, he declines. But he does offer to help train Thalia to kill the man herself. Thalia offers a chance to make some coin by doing some smuggling. Coin would be very helpful in letting James and a couple of his friends leave town and start somewhere new.
James learns that Thalia lied about her target who happens to be in cahoots with James' new boss. After a tragedy, James decides that staying and cleaning up the Assassin's Guild is a better idea than leaving.
This was a free novella for my Kindle. You can get your copy here.