de Bodard, Aliette -- Harbinger of the Storm

de Bodard, Aliette -- Master of the House of Darts

The Revered Speaker -- that is to say, the Emperor of the Tenochtitlan nation-state -- is dead. His potential successors are maneuvering for the throne like there was no tomorrow. There may in fact be no tomorrow, because the Revered Speaker is the mortal representative of Huitzilpochtli, and without one in place... the universe gets shaky. For example, somebody important is torn into messy little gobbets by star-demons. Our favorite High Priest of the Dead decides to do something about this, over the objections of everybody important (that isn't dead yet).

This series does an excellent job of the Vinge Spider Trick: you're reading along, in tune with what's going on, and then you remember that all of the characters have never heard of iron, eat newts for lunch, and consider their gods to be corpses. Newts aside, this is a satisfying political mystery of the "argh I hate politics but I have to fix this" model, crossed with "argh half of my suspects are gods and half of my witnesses are dead". (Being High Priest of the Dead makes that last part easier, of course. But not easy.)

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