A Dance of Death is the 3rd book in David Dalglish’s Shadowdance series. The events occurs two years after the events of A Dance of Blades. This time, Hearn, along with Zusa and Alyssa travels to the city Angelport to confront a copy cat murderer who calls himself The Wraith.
Moving away from the setting of Veldaren, A Dance of Death occurs in the city of Angelport. Home of one of the Trifect, The Keenans, and also of the Merchant Lords. Once again, Dalglish manages to create a world just as dangerous as Veldaren. Although Angelport may not have the thief guilds that Veldaren houses. It does have the Merchant Lords, The Keenans and the city lord, Ingram. Surely enough, all three forces gives Angelport an uncomfortable presence that without a doubt provides our main characters with a feeling of extreme vulnerability.
As much as we are familiar with Hearn and Zusa being such a dominant force from the previous book. The positions are switched as they are in a vulnerable position in the city of Angelport. With the cover showing Zusa lying still in the hands of Hearn, implying that she might be dead. There are moments in this book where you expect her to die. Those moments really does add a tremendous amount of tension in the book as you read through.
The action, as usual is superb and the dialogue, absolutely exceptional. The characters however, might be confusing at times as names are dropped here and there, it could be hard to keep up from time to time. The introduction of the elves was also a great addition reminding us that this is a fantasy book. A dark and gritty one at that. Also the character development of Hearn, Zusa and Alyssa was written very well along with the chemistry between Hearn and Zusa.
An important aspect of the book is The Wraith, which basically acts as Hearn’s rival. Of course, written in such an intriguing way, the fight between the two is a very riveting read which may leave you exhausted. Although there are a lot to like about this book. Having read the previous books, there are moments here that almost mimics some events from the previous books. Such as riots withing the city and the hiring of a fearsome mercenary to kill our main characters halfway through the story. To some, this may be bothersome as you have read this in both A Dance of Cloaks and A Dance of Blades but it may not be a bother to others.
To conclude A Dance of Death is another great addition to the Shadowdance Series. However, this might feel like a filler to other as it did for me, it does provides a thrilling and enjoyable story. With a whole new setting, a set of truly fascinating new characters, not to mention the always incredible fight scenes and an engrossing climax. A Dance of Death is a highly recommended read for the fans of the previous books or fan of the dark fantasy genre.