Tchaikovsky, Adrian -- Empire in Black and Gold (Shadows of the Apt, book 1)

In a fantasy world where human ethnicities are derived from insect totems, the Wasp Empire is about to conquer the continent. (Wasps look human, but they can fly and zap sting-fire from their hands. Ants are telepathic, Beetles are good at tinkering -- it goes on like that.) (There are giant beetles and so on, but they're domesticated animals.) This is not a war novel; this is the Great-Game-ish espionage that precedes the war. Plenty of swordfights. I had forgotten the joy of a book where people break into some damn swashbuckling every couple of chapters.

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