First in the Tide Lords series, this complex saga, like Fallon's earlier Hythrun Chronicles, intertwines several vividly realized plots. One follows Arkady Desean, the Ice Duchess of Lebec and a scholar of ancient Amyranthan lore, as she interrogates Cayal, a hanged man who inexplicably did not die. She soon encounters legends of the immortal Tide Lords who created the human-animal hybrid slaves called the Crasii—canines to serve, felines to fight, amphibians to pull watercraft—and a thousand years earlier caused the Cataclysm that nearly destroyed the world. Arkady's husband, Duke Stellan, guards his own deadly secret as he maneuvers through palace intrigues and inter-kingdom clashes. Royal spymaster Declan Hawkes secretly aids renegade Crasii and preserves the Cabal, humanity's only protection from the Tide Lords. With snappy dialogue and deft characterizations, especially of her sympathetically drawn canine Crasii, Fallon neatly pulls the story threads together into a multihued tapestry of myth, deceit and ambition.