When the war was over, Rider Wen walked away from Ghosenhall and her fellow riders to seek out a new fate. Wracked with remorse over surviving her king when it was her duty to protect him, she sets out on a meandering course across Gillengaria to atone for her sin.
One day, she helps a terrified young woman abducted by an overeager suitor. Wen later learns the young woman was the daughter of one of those who rose against the king, and is now heir to the estate known as Fortune. After the girl is safely home, Wen wants nothing more to do with the woman or her family, only to discover fate has other plans for her. Within the walls of Fortune, Wen will finally confront the demons of her past and find her future.
I have long wondered why this book was written. The Rider Wen was never a strong character in the other books. She appeared here and there, but nothing that danced and screamed that she was more than a side character. I bought this book mainly to finish fleshing out the rest of the Twelve Houses series. When I read the rest of the books, I usually skip reading this one as I don’t feel like it adds much to the rest of them. While the others focus mainly on the upcoming war and try to prevent the uprising, this book focuses on the aftermath of that war.
Sharon Shinn specifically mentions Wen walking out of the city one day at the end of the Reader and Raelynx, but nothing more was said about it and it didn’t seem to be a big deal. Survivor’s guilt is a known thing among soldiers and anyone who has survived a traumatic event where they lost someone important to them. Sharon Shinn must have decided it was worth looking into and seeing what happened to Wen and how others would react to her, especially given her small stature and amount of training she received while being a rider.
All in all, I think this book can be skipped unless you’re very interested in knowing why Wen walked away and what happened to her.