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March 6th, 2008

_Heroes Adrift_, Moire J. Moore

Third in a series (_Resenting the Hero_, _The Hero Strikes Back_). Our Hero, Shintaro Karish and Heroine, Dunleavy Mallorough, are summoned by the Empress and sent to Flatwell, and island in the south where it is warm, people don't wear many clothes and there aren't many, if any, disasters of the sort Sources and Shields are supported by society as a whole to deal with. They aren't warned what to expect, so they arrive to discover, much to their chagrin, that the Source/Shield requisition thing isn't recognized At All on the island.

Their mission: to find descendants of the Empress' sister. Their problem: keeping body and soul together long enough to get to where those descendants were last known. The solution: they join the circus. Really. It's not called a circus and they don't have animals, but it's basically the circus -- a traveling troupe of performers with wagon that do shell games, contortionism and assorted other things to separate the speccies ("rubes") from their money. Did I mention the circus had been cursed? No?

Well, of course a waif adopts them along the way, after trying to steal Lee's purse. And inevitably, in this land of everything not what is expected, Taro is considered plain and Lee is lovely. Silliest of all, Lee's skill at bench dancing, once suitably remolded into something Highly Inappropriate (scantily clad with body makeup, of course!), is what motivates the circus to accept them both. Taro is only good for manual labor.

Antics ensue. Of course the Empress didn't tell them stuff they really needed to know. Of course the legal system, such as it is, is very different from what they are accustomed to. Blah blah.

It was enough fun to make me sure I'll read the next one. I cannot imagine this would be an easy series to pick up in the middle.