Teckla  - Steven Brust This picks up right after the first book Jhereg, I believe. After pulling off a successful assassination job, Vlad finds himself rolling in money, so he seeks to build his wife Cawti a castle...which sounds like a joke, but really isn't.

Anyway, recall how the second book Yendi took a break to go back in the past to the time where Vlad and Cawti first met. So though my time with this series has been quite brief so far, I've already come to feel connected and attached to these two characters. Which is probably why it was hard for me to read this book, seeing trouble brewing between Vlad and his wife.

In this world where Easterners (humans) and the servant class Teckla are treated as second-class citizens by the lordly Dragaeron houses, a grassroots resistance movement starts to grow and Vlad is shocked when he discovers Cawti is involved in it. That she kept it a secret from him becomes a wedge driven into their marriage, along with the fact she doesn't seem to care that she's putting herself in danger because of it. Vlad then decides to handle matters his own way, which makes the conflict worse. The two of them begin to drift further apart, both emotionally and physically. So much for that castle.

I like Cawti, I really do. Which is why it annoyed me to see her react so flippantly to Vlad's concerns for her safety. I can understand her passion for a good cause, but the way she reacted towards him just came off as overly insensitive. Vlad's methods aren't always the most subtle or the best, I admit, but she could at least stop thinking only of herself just a second and try to understand. I confess my opinion of her fell a couple notches after this book.

Anyway, this was still pretty good, but even though it's told in a very easygoing style like the last couple of books, its subject matter and themes felt a lot heavier to me. The story just wasn't as light-hearted as the previous two, and deals with some ethical matters and subjects that in a couple of dialogue sequences bordered on the philosophical. Definitely the most subdued of the three books in the series I've read so far.