The Hidden Masters of Marandur is the sequel to The Dragons of Dorcastle and I was eager to finally be able to return to the world that Jack Campbell created. In the first book he crafted a world, yet barely scratched its history, that was engaging and pulled me into the story. This time he delves a little deeper into the world as he tells the story of Master Mechanic Mari and Mage Alain.
The story starts just as the previous one ended with the two separated having returned to their guilds. And they were both quickly tasked with assignments that they quickly discover were only assigned to have them killed in a way that their guilds would be blameless. In short order, they reunite and once again help each other to stay one step ahead of those aiming to kill them.
The love story that had begun in The Dragons of Dorcastle is deepened and strengthened in the book with Marie aiding Alaine in his attempt to regain his emotions, lost during his training as a mage. Though the lessons of life are not entirely one way, as Alaine is able to teach Marie a thing or two on their journey as well.
The book moves to at a good pace, yet it does not have the satisfying conclusion that the first book had. There is plenty of action and character development in the book that I am eagerly awaiting the next installment of the series.