Seventeen years old, and Ismae can’t count a single good day in all those years. Marked by St. Mortain, she’s been hounded, beat, and yelled at. She’s been married off, beat (again), and – thankfully – escaped. Then she’s taken in by the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns the oh-so-many ways there are to kill. Her god is the god of death, after all. Her specialty? Poison.Then Ismae is pulled into politics. The Duchess – or would-be, if the French would just go away – of Brittany is young, and protected only by a few. One of them is her half-brother Duval, whom Ismae has orders to remove if he proves to be a traitor. The politics soon entangle Ismae, even as Duval attracts her attention. She’s on her own, and soon finds that the convent may not know everything after all…Ismae could so easily have been led astray, as she’s still pretty naive, even if she does know how to kill. Luckily for her, Duval isn’t half bad. Unfortunately, this means Ismae has to search out the real traitor in Anne’s (the Duchess’) court, which currently hosts an unwanted suitor, the French ambassador, and the members of her council.I enjoyed reading Grave Mercy. Ismae is pretty level-headed, and aware of what’s going on around her even as she tries to puzzle out the situation. Duval is a half-brother any Duchess-to-be would want to have on her side. His sense of humor is wicked, his sense of loyalty almost gets him dead. The supporting cast of characters are diverse – and while some are predictable, others are enjoyable, and a few you won’t regret saying goodbye to. The story is crisply told, the plot straightforward, and the ending wraps it all up neatly. I’ll be picking up the next one to see where the story goes from here.drey’s rating: Pick it up!