|The Belly of the Bow|
Date: May, 2003 — $8.99 — Book
So Evil Rob thinks the entire Loredan family is more or less sociopathic, in the sense that they have a complete inability to understand how their actions affect others. He's got a point. Bardas worked hard to save a city, became both praised and reviled by the populace, and never quite seemed to understand why he merited either. To him, one thing followed logically from the next, and the feelings of people involved is incidental at best.
His brother Gorgas— now there's a cheerful happy fellow, who incidentally is the outcast (rather justifiably) after a spot of panicked fratricide in his youth— and he's the one who cares for his family! Niessa only cares about money. The two brothers left behind at the family farm are the sort of dumb ne'er-do-wells who barely understand that they might themselves have feelings.
And it's this weird dysfunctional relationship all around. Gorgas does truly care for Bardas, even though he once tried to kill him, and all but smothers the horrified Bardas, who wants nothing to do with the brother he regards as a monster. Bardas himself is seen as a bit of a monster, something he doesn't realize quite until his two clodpole brothers reject him entirely. Niessa... well. Money. You know.
And we haven't even touched on the issue of Niessa's child, who wants to kill Bardas, and manages to pull off quite a nasty trick at the end.
The weird part is that you can actually imagine having a conversation with Gorgas. He seems like he'd be quite a nice guy to talk to. Dangerous to hang around, though.
There's a bit of nastiness quite like Greek myth near the end, just as a warning. It certainly snuck up on me, at which point I was saying... "No... way..."