An excellent read. Brust has some of the best dialogue - fresh, crisp, wise cracking -- and is the master of conveying emotion in the speech of his characters. The plot is well-developed and challenging. Orca is better than most of its predecessors as a whole.
Part of the Vlat Taltos series---Sorcerer/assassin Vlad Taltos and his jhereg take on the most corrupt House in the Empire---
Granted, walking around with two jhereg on your shoulders is not the best disguise for an ex-assassin wanted all over the Empire. But a young boy saved my life and now he needs my help. And Vlad Taltos always pays his debts. Even if it means uncovering a financial scandal big enough to bring down the House of the Orca--and if I'm lucky, the entire Empire . . .
Continues the Vlad series & comes after Vlad's adventures from Athrya. We learn more about Kiera in the process. Vlad is trying to help Savn regain his proper mental state. In the process, he also tries to help a woman retain her property.
Even though the Taltos books aren't published in chronological order, Orca followed the storyline started in the previous book (Athyra) and I have already decided that at this point, Vlad the Detective is nowhere near as interesting as Vlad the Assassin. The plot is dull, revolving around a financial scheme (!), and the supporting cast does very little supporting. Kiera the Thief is the only useful side character, and the end of the book the author decides to throw a twist into things that seems totally unnecessary - perhaps it was obvious at this point that Vlad on his own, without Morrolan, Aliera, or even Kragar is just not that fun to read. I'm working on Book 8 right now, which goes back in time to a more interesting period, but I'm not certain at this point if I will care much anymore.