This book is very rushed, and shouldn't be a novel at all. It would have fit very nicely in a anthology like Dreams Made Flesh as a short story. But there's really not enough material to make this into a novel, and it shows. Also, her normal attention to detail is lacking. When the second landen child dies, for instance, the novel doesn't even remark on the other children's reactions. They all merely continue on, trying to escape. Wow. Anne Bishop normally takes any emotional moment she can to squeeze ever drop of melodrama out of, so it seems especially unusual that she doesn't mention anything about it. There are other flaws with the story, but my main problem was that it should have been a short story. Anyway, if you're as driven as I am to read every story in the Black Jewels universe, you'll still have to read this one. And some of the events that take place here are slightly referenced in The Shadow Queen.