Here is a spoiler summary of what happened in The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green to help refresh your memory before you read the sequel.
what happened in The Smoke Thieves?
- Tash is out demon hunting with Gravell, the guy who bought her from her parents because he was in need of a runner.
- Princess Catherine is forced by her father and brothers to witness Lady Ann’s execution. Ann is Ambrose’s sister. Ambrose is Catherine’s soon-to-be love interest by the looks of things. Ambrose was clearly quite distraught by his sister being accused of treason and killed, so when he denounced her, people noticed that he didn’t mean it.
- Lady Ann was accused of killing one of the king’s men when she tried to run away.
- Before Lady Ann is killed, she tries to sign a message to Catherine but Catherine can’t figure out what she means.
- Tash is almost caught by the demon she was hunting. But she wasn’t, and they managed to get the demon smoke to sell.
- We meet March, who is one of the last remaining Abask from the north. His people got caught in the war between King Aloysius and Prince Thelonius, the two brothers who rule the lands either side of Abask. March is a servant to Prince Thelonius, but has been working with Holywell, another Abask, to spy on the royal family.
- Catherine goes riding with her brother, Boris. We don’t like Boris. Boris has two of his men fight Ambrose, who defeats them both (killing one). Ambrose then has to flee, because Boris is probably going to send Noyes after him.
- March wants to join Holywell when he goes to Pitoria to find who they think is Prince Thelonius’s secret son. He doesn’t want to be a slave to Prince Thelonius any more.
- Catherine asks her mother about her betrothed, Prince Tzsayn. She has never met the guy. Her mother says that Catherine should make the people love her. Catherine sets off on a boat to Pitoria.
- Ambrose arrives at Fielding, which is where Ann was before she was captured and executed. Here Ambrose is captured by boy soldiers, before once again escaping with the help of his brother.
- We meet Edyon, who is presumably Prince Thelonius’ son. His mother runs a furniture stall at the fair, and Edyon is a thief. He steals something from Stone and is badly beaten. He heads to the baths to clean up after he meets March, who tells him that he has important information for him.
- Gravell and Tash are also at the baths. Tash really wants some nice grey boots, so she asks Gravell to lend her some money. While Gravell is chasing her off, Edyon steals Gravell’s demon smoke. Gravell thinks it’s Tash, and is angry, but Tash investigates and realises who must have done it.
- March and Holywell kill Lord Regan and get his ring (it has Prince Thelonius’ seal on it so they need it to prove to Edyon that they’re decent).
- Tash confronts Edyon about the smoke. He is about to give it back to her, but a guard shows up and threatens to put both of them in prison. Tash runs, and Edyon fights off the guard along with March and Holywell. The guard is killed in the kerfuffle.
- Tash follows the group as they leave with the smoke.
- Edyon heals March using the smoke.
- Catherine is making a name for herself as she travels up the country to the capital, Tornia, to meet her prince. The people seem to love her. Boris is not a fan. They reach Tornia and Catherine meets King Arell.
- Catherine figures out that Lady Ann was signing about demon smoke, and she asks Rowland to find out what that had to do with her father.
- Ambrose heads to Pitoria to find Catherine and warn her about her father’s boy army. It seems as though King Aloysius is planning to go to war with Pitoria.
- Catherine meets Prince Tzsayn, who turns out to be a decent guy. He complains about arranged marriage.
- Ambrose finally makes it to Pitoria in time to warn Catherine. He tells her that her father is gathering boys at the border in order to fight, and that the wedding is a major distraction.
- Ambrose is imprisoned (but nicely) by Prince Tzsayn.
- Catherine ends up telling Tzsayn about her father and his army. Tzsayn thanks her and is very lovely about it. Tzsayn goes north with a bunch of his men, thus postponing the wedding for a bit.
- Edyon, March, and Holywell are still heading north. They’re confronted by soldiers, and Holywell is killed. Tash and Gravell show up, and Gravell takes Edyon’s golden chain. Tash tells Gravell off for being greedy.
- Ambrose, currently nicely imprisoned, is thinking about the situation. He realises that Prince Boris wouldn’t want to miss out on the action, and is probably currently at the wedding venue in order to kill the King. He sends a message to Catherine to warn her.
- Catherine hears people crying out and realises what’s happening. Boris’ men are killing the lords and the other people who are present. Her maid, Sarah, is killed, and the King is stabbed in the back.
- Ambrose runs towards Catherine and helps her.
- Catherine and her men head toward Rossarb, where Tzsayn is. Along the way, another of her maids is killed.
- Also in Rossarb are March and Edyon. March is currently dying, and Edyon is demanding smoke to heal him.
- Also also, Tash and Gravell are in town. They’ve been arrested for demon hunting and smoke smuggling.
- Catherine bumps into Tash, and learns a bit about the smoke. After talking with Tzsayn and hearing his men talk about smoke healing (which no one realised was a thing at first), Catherine realises that Ann was trying to warn her about her father’s boy army.
- It turns out that smoke can heal young people – girls or boys – and it can also affect their strength. Catherine realises that her father is building a super strong army who are basically fed on demon smoke.
- The group starts to test the smoke, and they realise what it can do. March is healed.
- One of King Aloysius’ men comes along and asks Tzsayn to give up Ambrose and Catherine. Tzsayn refuses because he’s the best. Ambrose is shown the head of his now dead brother, which is kind of harsh, but then Tzsayn asks him to give a moving speech to rile up the men.
- King Aloysius’ men break into the city. Tzsayn is fighting on the wall when the castle goes up in flames. Tash goes to save Gravell, who is still locked up, and Gravell ends up saving Tash. It’s the best moment from the book.
- While all this is happening, Catherine leaves with her men and makes a quick getaway. She plans on fighting her father with her own army of young people.
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