"Two Serpents Rise" - Book Review

Sequel to "Three Parts Dead" in the Craft series, Two Serpents Rise is set in the same universe as the other book - but passing mentions of a couple names (such as the starring city in the previous book, Alt Coulumb) and the interaction between the Gods and the Craft are where the associations end. The previous book was arguably about a sort of European/North American culture: this time he's invoking a weird cross of modern business culture and an Aztec/Mexican history - complete with gods who demanded human sacrifice and the priests who made them.

The city is Dresediel Lex, a coastal city of 16 or 17 million that's in a desert and relies - very heavily - on the Craft of Red King Consolidated to provide the huge quantities of clean water a city of that size needs. Our protagonist is Caleb Altemoc, risk manager at RKC, and the man who's called in when the biggest water supply they have is contaminated. Don't think poison - think demons, or at least something similar. Oh - and did we mention that Caleb's father is an outlawed high priest who's still fond of stone altars? Or that Caleb is a gambler who's developing an interest in a woman named Mal who likes freerunning and causes him to take some insane risks?

Gladstone, I'm beginning to see, likes his stories - no matter how messy they get in the middle third - tucked away as neatly as a newly made hospital bed by the end of the book. I admit that I like this, but at the same time it has a certain feeling of improbability about it. This book is a bit grittier and nastier than the last one, and I didn't enjoy it quite as much - although it's still well written with good characters and an interesting plot line. If you've read my review of Three Parts Dead, you'll know I started the Craft series because of a review of the third book - I guess that's where I'm headed now.