Big-cat entertainer and Sazi Councilman Antoine Monier is searching for a missing cat in Stuttgart, Germany, when he comes across a strange female shapeshifter in police custody. He goes to her aid, not knowing she belongs to the legendary Hayalet Kabile, the ghost tribe of shapeshifters whoíve long isolated themselves from the world - particularly the Sazi, whom they hate on principle. In turn, Tahira Kuric is surprised to find one of the Sazi so helpful, especially an alpha such as Antonie, the leader of all the cats. But her immediate concern remains her search for her missing brother, the future leader of their clan.
Tahiraís arrival has an unfortunate side effect on Antoine whose precognition flares up dangerously, revealing a looming catastrophic peril in a series of disjointed visions - but from whom or what remains unknown, to his constant frustration. Trapped by a snowstorm, Antoine and Tahira - together with some human and Sazi friends - try to solve the mystery behind Tahiraís unique ability to absorb power from magical beings, even as Antoine and Tahira grow increasingly close. Things come to a head when Antoine is challenged for his leadership position by his own grandmother, and Councilman Ahmad, leader of serpents and Antoineís arch-rival, arrives to add further fuel to the fire.
This third book in the Sazi series is a quite a departure for several reasons. One, it follows an entirely different species of shapeshifters and is the first one that doesnít feature acerbic but ever-interesting werewolf assassin Tony Giodone. Secondly, itís written in third person instead of the usual first-person narrative. While itís quite exciting to plunge into this strange new world of big cat shapeshifters, somehow this story doesnít quite grip as much as the previous novels. Perhaps itís because readers arenít already familiar with central protagonist Antoine Monier as they were with Tony, or perhaps because Antoineís defects are pointed out all to clearly pretty early in the narrative. Or perhaps itís because of an ending that seems a tad too convenient.
However the novel does have its share of positives. The ever-increasing knifeís-edge of danger that permeates this novel is overall very effective. Taken together with the varied and unusual powers of the main characters, their complex inter-personal relationships and multi-faceted interesting pasts, professions and politics, the aura of menace keeps the reader engrossed up until the very end. The authorial duo succeed in making readers connect with and care for their characters, and that more than redeems this story.