I was concerned that this book would not advance the plot of the series, but it does, and it makes sense that Tom is not the main character. The Fiend has been captured and bound, with his body in a remote location trussed up in silver, but Grimalkin is forced to carry his head around in a sack so that his followers can't get it to reunite with his body and reanimate him. This does not stop the followers from producing a kretch that is on Grimalkin's trail. Even with the help of her apprentice, Thorne, Grimalkin is poisoned in a fight with this monster and needs the help of Agnes to survive. In her weakened state, she continues her trek to permanently disable the fiend, hunting down lamias who knew Tom's mother and trying to get information from them. After they rescue Will, a young nobleman, he pledges the help of his father's soldiers, which Grimalkin desperately needs. Unfortunately, Will's father dies without defeating either the kretch or the mage supervising him. Grimalkin must turn to Alice, asking her for help in healing, and also for some of Alice's magic. If Alice does this, however, she will become a fully malevolent witch. While some things are resolved in this book, the Fiend is still a threat, and will continue to be until the end of book 14, which is supposed to be the last installment!
LOTS of action, adventure, and gory killing of monsters. This was a surprisingly violent book, which the students will like. I preferred scenes like the dilemma of Alice.