In The Adversary, Erin Evans returns to the story of the young tiefling warlock Farideh and her sister Havilar that she began in her two Brimstone Angels books. And while The Adversary is also the third book in the Sundering series, it - like the first two novels of the series - is only loosely connected to the other novels. In fact, the majority of this book takes place about a year after the events in The Godborn, and other than a sense that the Forgotten Realms are continuing to "change," there is no direct connection to either The Companions or The Godborn, and so there is no need to have read either of those books to enjoy this one.
For those unfamiliar with the Brimstone Angels series, you should know that the main characters, Farideh and Havilar, are the tiefling descendants of one of the most powerful warlocks in history and are viewed as prized possessions by many devils of hell. In the preceding books, this situation has already caused much grief to the sisters as Farideh made a "deal" with a devil named Lorcan, which caused her and her sister to be expelled from their home and have some dangerous adventures. However, during this time, Farideh became friends with and romantically attracted to Lorcan, and Havilar found love with a young man named Brin. So naturally, as The Adversary begins, the relative serenity of the tieflings’ life comes undone.
Worried about the safety of both her sister and Lorcan, Farideh negotiates a deal for ten years protection from the devil Sairche in exchange for two favors. A deal that immediately goes awry for the naive warlock as Sairche keeps her end of the bargain by holding them in statis in Hell for seven and a half years. Everyone Farideh and Havilar know and love thinking they are dead.
Once the tieflings reappear in the world, they are not only at one another’s throats due to the loss of nearly a decade of their lives but also because Sairche immediately calls in one of the two favors Farideh owes her. A fact which sends Farideh off by herself to a Netherese interment camp operated by the wizard Adolican Rhand from Lesser Evils, and everyone else wondering what has happened to her.
The tale that Erin Evans pens thereafter is filled with different characters and viewpoints. There is the fierce political machinations between the agents of the Hells, as they try to aid or hinder either the machinations of Shar, Goddess of Loss, or Asmodeus, God of Evil. There is the tale of Farideh and two, undercover Harper agents struggling to undermine their enemies attempt to locate the "Chosen of the Gods" who have some mysterious role to play in the reshaping of the world Faerun. There is the individual stories of Havilar and her old lover Brin trying to see where they stand after seven and a half years have slipped by even as they rush to rescue Farideh. There is the romantic attachment that has grown between Farideh and Lorcan. There is even insight into the tieflings’ adopted father, Mehen, love for his wayward children.
All in all, The Adversary is a wonderful third book in the Brimstone Angels series and a fine addition to the Sundering. While the novel is a bit slow at the beginning, it picks up speed as it progresses to an action packed finale that resolves some mysteries but leaves enough unresolved for more stories about Farideh and Havilar.
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank Netgalley for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.