A Red-Rose Chain (2015) — The 9th book in the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire.

Author's Description Edit

A Red-Rose Chain (September 1st 2015, DAW) puts Toby into a whole new world: diplomacy. When the King of Silences declares war on the Mists, Toby somehow finds herself at the head of the diplomatic mission that's supposed to keep things from turning uglier than they already are. With May, Tybalt, and Quentin to help her, there's a chance she can pull this off...but with Walther concealing connections to the deposed royal family of Silences, there's also a chance that things are about to get very, very ugly. And there are a few familiar faces waiting for her, among the roses...

Full Plot SummaryEdit

Toby, Tybalt, Toby's squire Quentin and Danny fight and subdue a pack of Mauthe Doog that have been attacking mortals in the area of Queen Arden Windermere's knowe. When Toby sends them to the knowe to be cared for by Madden, Arden's Cu Sidhe friend and former co-worker at Borderlands Books, Madden is found with an elf-shot arrow in his chest, deposited outside by an unknown assailant(s), with a scroll announcing that the Kingdom of Silences has declared war on Arden's demesne, the Kingdom of the Mists. Frightened by the prospect of having to try to prevent or fight such a war, Arden flees the knowe. Toby tracks her back to the bookstore, where she is hiding in the old hidden apartment she once shared with her brother Nolan there, and threatens to abdicate her throne. Toby convinces her to return and remain Queen, but in the process is forced to lay hands on Arden without her permission, which is forbidden by law and custom. As punishment for Toby's transgression, Arden assigns her as a diplomatic envoy of the Mists and orders her to go to Silences and try to negotiate with the ruler there, King Rhys, to prevent the war.

Toby assembles a diplomatic party including Tybalt, Quentin, May Daye and Walther Davies, a Twylyth Teg alchemist employed as a professor at the University of California-Berkeley who is originally from Silences, and heads to Portland, Oregon, where Silences' court is hidden. Upon arriving, she finds that Rhys has allied himself with none other than the fraudulent Queen of the Mists, whom Toby deposed in Chimes at Midnight, and who turns out to be Rhys' lover. A formal dinner is held to honor the visitors, where Rhys arranges for a cup of goblin-fruit juice to be spilled on Toby's gown, triggering her addiction to the fruit.

Entering negotiations, Toby learns that she herself is the pretext Rhys has used to declare war: because of her Dóchas Sidhe blood-magic powers, he considers her a threat to him and his rule. He also considers Arden the usurper of the throne in the Mists, rather than the false Queen. They demand, in exchange for rescinding the declaration and not going to war, that Toby sacrifice her own life and remains to them in order to produce blood-magic weapons from her blood and bones. Since killing Rhys and the false Queen will put them in violation of Oberon's Law against killing fellow fae creatures, Toby decides to lead a revolt to depose Rhys, since he is only king because the false Queen made him so, and thus is as illegitimate a ruler as his lover was.

Seeking help both to make the antidote and to overthrow Rhys, Toby and friends are guided by Walther to a secret Rose Road leading to the home of his aunt, Ceres. Ceres is a Blodynbryd rose dryad, and also a daughter of Blind Michael, whom Toby killed to stop him from kidnapping changeling children. Seeing Toby as her family's savior for this, Ceres warmly welcomes her and her friends. They also learn that Walther was originally a female named Waltrune and used his alchemy to change his body due to gender dysmorphia, and that he is part of the royal family himself, though not in the line of succession. He is able to cure Rhys' seneschal, Marlis, of the obedience spell Rhys has been using on his staff and courtiers, and recruits her to the cause. Marlis reveals that Rhys has been keeping the true royalty of Silences unconscious with repeated doses of elf-shot and cutting body parts off them for use in his magic.

Narrowly escaping an attempted arrest by the King's soldiers on charges of treason, Toby and Tybalt travel into Portland to Powell's, a local bookstore. There they meet Joe, the owner, who is secretly Jolgeir, King of the Court of Whispering Cats and an old friend of Tybalt's. He takes a liking to Toby, and offers his Court as an ally to the Mists if they cannot prevent the war.

Toby is captured and severely tortured by Rhys and the false Queen, but Marlis helps her escape by knocking Rhys unconscious. Fleeing the torture chamber and in danger of bleeding out, Toby is aided by Marlis in moving through hidden corridors. They are confronted by the false Queen, only to have Tybalt appear from the shadows and grab her by the throat, intending to kill her for her many wrongs to Toby. Toby persuades him to let her live, since killing her will mean his own execution for violating Oberon's Law. Marlis produces an elf-shot arrow and gives it to Toby as an alternative. Toby plunges the arrow into the false Queen's chest, sending her to a hundred-year sleep. Rhys, however, does the same to Toby.

Toby awakens to learn that Walther has succeeded in creating an elf-shot antidote and wakened not only Toby and May, but also the sleeping royal family. Queen Siwan Yates assumes the throne, in gratitude doing the unthinkable and saying "thank you" to Toby and friends and declaring them all heroes of the realm. Rhys and the false Queen are left in an elf-shot coma, to wake in a century to find the kingdom not purged of mixed-blood fae as they had planned, which Tybalt calls the worst possible punishment they could suffer. October asks Queen Siwan to let her speak with Silences' changelings and offer them the Changeling's Choice, which Rhys had denied them.

Characters, Fae Types, PlacesEdit

Characters Fae Types Places, Misc
October "Toby" Daye Changeling, Dóchas Sidhe San Francisco, CA (Kingdom of the Mists, Duchy of Shadowed Hills)
Tybalt Cait Sidhe San Francisco, CA (Court of Dreaming Cats)
Quentin Sollys Daoine Sidhe San Francisco, CA (Kingdom of the Mists, Duchy of Shadowed Hills)
May Daye Fetch, Night-Haunt (former) San Francisco, CA (Kingdom of the Mists)
Walther Davies Twylyth Teg Univ. of California-Berkeley, San Francisco, CA (Kingdom of the Mists)
King Rhys Tuatha de Danann Portland, OR (Kingdom of Silences)
Queen of the Mists Siren (former), Banshee, Sea Wight Portland, OR (Kingdom of Silences)
Ceres Blodynbryd Portland, OR (Kingdom of Silences)
Tia Cu Sidhe San Francisco, CA (Kingdom of the Mists)
Madden Cu Sidhe San Francisco, CA (Kingdom of the Mists)


Back Cover TextEdit

Things are looking up.

For the first time in what feels like years, October "Toby" Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life -- and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.

Or not. When Queen Windermere's seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.

How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what's past is never really gone.

It's just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

See AlsoEdit

External ReferencesEdit

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Toby-verse Links:


October Daye Stories

Rosemary and RueA Local HabitationAn Artificial NightLate EclipsesOne Salt SeaAshes of HonorChimes at MidnightThe Winter LongA Red-Rose ChainOnce Broken FaithThe Brightest Fell

Short stories

Rat-Catcher (#0.6)Through This House (#4.5)In Sea-Salt Tears (#5.1)No Sooner Met (#6.2)Never Shines the Sun (#7.1)Forbid the Sea (#7.2)Heaps of Pearl (#8.1)The Fixed Stars (#8.5)Full of Briars (#9.3)Dreams and Slumbers (#10.5)Of Things Unknown (#11.5)

Patreon stories

In Little Stars (#0.5)Stage of Fools (#7.3)The Voice of Lions (#7.4)The Act of Hares (#7.5)Instruments of Darkness (#7.6)With Honest Trifles (#7.7)In Deepest Consequences (#7.8)Shore to Shore (#8.2)Write in Water (#8.3)Live in Brass (#8.4)These Antique Fables (#11.1)Jealous in Honor (#11.?)