The war is finally over in Amnesty, by Lara Elena Donnelly, but peace has not yet arrived for the cast of characters. They’ve been on a long road for a decade, some literally and some figuratively. In this final entry in the Amberlough Dossier, we see Lillian DePaul, Aristide Makricosta, and Cyril DePaul on the last mile of that road. They’ve been through a hell of a lot and my heart was in my throat the whole time as I waited to see what hurdles Donnelly would put in their way.
Lillian has been home in Amberlough for some time, trying to rebuild a life as a press agent in the government of the new Prime Minister, whoever that turns out to be. It’s a challenge because of her past working for the One State Party (Ospies), who coerced her to work for them, and also because of her name. Cyril, her brother, torched the family’s good name when he turned double agent during the events of Amberlough. His actions led to the fall of independent Amberlough and the rise of the Ospies. When it turns out that Cyril didn’t die after those actions has made her life all the more complicated. Of course, however complicated Lillian’s life is, it’s no comparison to how complicated life is for Aristide. Cyril was Aristide’s lover and it was his love for the former burlesque star and smuggler that made Cyril betray his country.
The characters in the Amberlough Dossier have a very bad habit of working at cross purposes and not talking to each other. Lillian, Aristide, and Cyril have a long history of having to work on their own while very much in the shadows. This bad habit goes all the way back to the first volume in the trilogy, to catastrophic effect. The characters have learned a lot, but they still haven’t learned this lesson. While Lillian wheels and deals (and deals with a stroppy teenaged son), Cyril’s life is once more in danger from people who blame him for the war and the still unrepaired damage it caused. Aristide and Lillian do their best to try and save him one more time, but Cyril seems willing to go to the gallows for his treason. Lillian calls in a lawyer to work with the system. Aristide…very much does not…and there are more than one passage where it looks like their actions could cause everything to go to hell again.
Amnesty contains political machinations, criminal enterprises, and an imperial ton of emotional baggage—some of it utterly heartbreaking as Cyril and Aristide wrestle with their feelings for each other. While all of this torments our trio of protagonists, it makes for highly entertaining and thrilling reading. This book was a brilliant finale for a highly original trilogy. I am more than satisfied.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.