This new Iskander adventure of Gisel Matah’s follows on from The Wildcat’s Victory that saw her as an important participant in the creation of a new peace treaty that ends one war as well as threats of another larger one. Gisel learned she was pregnant at the end of that story, and now married to Yohan and near the end of her pregnancy, she has yet to enjoy the fruits of that peace herself.
She gets no maternity leave, but what her superiors describe as a safe desk job, military governor of the port city of Skrona. But the city is the most turbulent in Europe; the transhipment point for the world-changing products of Iskander’s industry; focal point for all the ambitions, competition and greed of a new and growing middle class; a hotbed of spies, cheats, shysters and murderers who have come from every nation to steal what the Iskanders are not prepared to sell. Among this turmoil, Gisel’s enemies can pass almost unseen, with their minds fixed on revenge.
The Wildcat’s Burden presents the reverse side of an Iskander story. Gisel Matah cannot go after enemies and evil in her old swashbuckling way to defeat them – but the troubles all come to her. In many ways, her problems are not caused by enemies but by the system where she is a key player. The actions and the dangers are no less compelling, and her success is no less immediately vital to those around her, who depend upon her and her Wildcat Tricks. What can Gisel do to ensure her rule holds together while she is giving birth? Well – that has to be a deep secret. It has to be a surprise – and it has to work.