May 272015

Cover for Mary Robinette Kowal's Of Noble Family. A young black woman wears an updo and white gown of the Regency period, the bright background making her glow ethereally.Locus: Family, rather than art or magic, is the central theme for this novel, the fifth and final in the Glamourist Histories series. Jane and Vincent are finally relaxing with Jane’s family, in Vienna, when word comes that Vincent’s hateful father has died on his estate in Antigua, and left a new will that can only be released to a family member. Vincent’s eldest brother died in a carriage accident that left the next son badly injured – and the new Earl of Verbury. He asks Vincent to go to Antigua and take care of things, so he and Jane head out to get the will – and find a hellish mess of the old Earl’s making. What horrifies Vincent and Jane most is the treatment of the slaves, some of them clearly family members themselves, but their efforts to help are repeatedly stymied. Fortunately, no one expects the two to have the spying skills they’ve acquired in their adventures, and gradually they win through. There are parts that are a bit predictable, and I missed the emphasis on Art, but it’s a good read anyway, with a very final epilogue that nicely concludes the series.