Paladin’s Faith by T. Kingfisher (The Saint of Steel #4)

Marguerite Florian is a spy with two problems. A former employer wants her dead, and one of her new bodyguards is a far too good-looking paladin with a martyr complex.

Shane is a paladin with three problems. His god is dead, his client is much too attractive for his peace of mind, and a powerful organization is trying to have them both killed.

Add in a brilliant artificer with a device that may change the world, a glittering and dangerous court, and a demon-led cult, and Shane and Marguerite will be lucky to escape with their souls intact, never mind their hearts…

PUBLISHER: Red Wombat Studio
YEAR: 2023
LENGTH: 420 pages
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy, Romance

Queer Rep Summary: Gay/Achillean Minor Character(s), Bi/Pan Secondary Character(s), Ace/Aro Minor Character(s).

PALADIN'S FAITH follows Marguerite and Shane. Marguerite was last seen in PALADIN'S GRACE, where she vanished quite suddenly in the middle of some stressful events and it was discovered that, while other characters knew she was a spy, "Marguerite" was in fact the name of a different spy who had died years earlier. As we never get another name for this character, both the book and this review will continue to refer to her by her chosen name of Marguerite. What happened to her after this point was a great mystery, especially to her friend Grace, the perfumer who got together with Stephen in that book. Now, in PALADIN'S FAITH, Marguerite has returned to ask Bishop Beartongue for the loan of some paladins so that she can find an artificer with an economy-changing invention that has the possibility of fixing a great many of the White Rat's current problems. Shane has been around in the previous books, present, but not generally playing a major role. Wren, the other paladin who travels with them, has hitherto been mentioned only incidentally as part of the group of the late Saint of Steel's paladins. 

I like Wren, I'd been waiting for any of the female paladins to get as much attention as their brother paladins and I'm quite pleased with the result. I enjoy Marguerite and Shane, both separately and together. Shane is consistent with his brief appearances in earlier books, and to whatever extent there’s more variation from Marguerite's early appearance, much of that is due to finally knowing more about her. I love how T. Kingfisher keeps finding new permutations of the kind of person who would become a paladin and end up looking like guilt-ridden walls of muscle from the outside, but turn out to be kind, strong, very capable, guilt-ridden walls of muscle from the inside. 

The Saint of Steel series has hit its stride, with a level of obvious consistency in quality where I'm super happy with this book, it's everything I wanted but couldn't anticipate, and I'm very excited for the next one. This also is a point where it gets harder for me to have non-spoiler specifics for a review. I had a great time, and if you are this far in the series, you, too, probably like fluffy paladin romances with some death and relative gore (but remarkably fewer severed heads than the first three books).

 PALADIN'S FAITH. is definitely not the last book in the series, it appears that there are supposed to be seven in total, one for each of the paladins. Regardless of the eventual tally, this is not the last book and there is a hell of a teaser at the end for something that will be very relevant in future books. Even without that teaser, this book is not devoted to solving the mystery of the Saint's death and so that plotline is ready to receive more attention later. Shane does get a few insights from an unlikely source, and I'm interested in how that will all pan out. 

Graphic/Explicit CW for sexual content, violence, death.

Moderate CW for excrement, blood, gore, injury detail.

Minor CW for sexual harassment, pregnancy, vomit, kidnapping, suicide, torture, murder, child death, parental death.

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Two green pillar-like structures with white rats perched on the top. Between them is a hand reaching upwards towards a broken-bladed sword


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