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

High priest continues to solve crimes, avert the end of the world. The noir parallels are rather explicit, now that I think about it: Acatl is the ex-cop who left the force because the top brass were all corrupt and he couldn't stomach the ass-kissing needed to get ahead. Okay, it's not a perfect parallel -- he never was "on the force" -- but the "last honest man, refuses to play politics" theme is very much there. This is the point in the series where he has friends and allies, but he's not sure of them because they play the games -- but he needs them for just that reason.

I like this depiction of the worship of Lord Death. Lord Death is the god who doesn't have to play games, because everything comes to Him eventually. (Yes, the themes tie in.) On an unrelated note, I was startled to realize (I know, duh) that these are the cultural threads that lead to the modern Mexican Day of the Dead and thence to Grim Fandango.

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