Hearts of Tabat
WordFire Press 2018
Cat Rambo‘s Hearts of Tabat (WordFire Press, 2018) is rich in emotions and description, though it revolves around a murder mystery as well. We experience the imaginary port city of Tabat through the eyes of four narrators, two merchants and two siblings from a poor household. Adelina, the secret publisher of a newspaper, and Sebastiano, a member of the Mages’ College who handles trade negotiations, both come from Merchant families with high expectations. Neither Sebastiano’s critical father, or Adelina’s overbearing mother, are pleased with the careers their offspring have chosen. Into their lives come two people from a very different background, Eloquence and his sister Obedience. Like most of the poor, they worship at the Moon Temples, and therefore receive names based on personality traits. While Eloquence, who has the good fortune to become a fresh-water pilot, does have a gift with words, Obedience doesn’t fit her name. She struggles to escape the miserable apprenticeship the Temple finds for her.
As the novel begins, Adelina is still obsessed with her former lover, the famous female gladiator, Bella Canto. When she meets the charming Eloquence, it seems she might finally move on. But will Eloquence’s rigid ideas about his younger sister, Obedience, ruin their relationship?
Though Hearts of Tabat has romantic elements, it offers suspense against a background of political unrest. The book plays out against a richly developed world, one in which mythical animals serve mankind and fuel machines. Revolutionary ideas about the magical beasts are developing; the murders that take place serve as a testament to that. Far from being mere “beasts”, the wonderful magical creatures that populate Cat Rambo’s world have feelings and needs that human society will ignore at its peril.
Gabrielle Mathieu is the author of the historical fantasy Falcon series (The Falcon Flies Alone, and the upcoming The Falcon Strikes.) She blogs about travel and her books at http://gabriellemathieu.com/. You can also follow her on Twitter to get updates about new podcasts and more: @GabrielleAuthor.