"This is, like all of John Benson's work, a very well told story indeed. I have read much of his work but this one is new to me. It includes a number of his common themes - the powerful woman who likes to submit, but only in certain ways; responsibility, power ... but it does not quite fall within his usual formulae.
Morgan is a "rising young power" which seems to mean some sort of magician in training. For cover, she plays a tavern wench "of loose morals". In this role, she likes to be punished, and it makes her sex far more ardent. She discovers that the man she is seeing has been sent to learn about her, and probably to assassinate her. She deals with him, but things become more complex thereafter."
Morgan is a rising power, learning her craft from the Grandmothers. She also enjoys pain, submitting to Borrit's punishment stick. But in the fight for life, Morgan's power is manifested and it is she who prevails.
synopsis by elliej