The first two books of this series feature Nameless just struggling to survive, while along the way stumbling into adventure, some wealth and other kinds of success. He really never seemed to have much of a plan, but things worked out in his favor (eventually, and at great cost). But after the great success -- if it is that -- after Ascent, Nameless isn't worried about survival, about doing more than subsisting this time. He's got time for plans -- not just plans for himself, but for the citizenry of the Pyramid.
Whoops. Maybe he should go back to just eking out a living.
Things don't go so hot for him this way -- but man, what character growth. Really, there are depths to Nameless that may not surprise readers, it makes sense that they exist, but we've never had the opportunity to see it before.
There are two other cities on the post-apocalyptic landscape, New Orleans and the White City. New Orleans is full of the New Voodoo Movement, and the White City is the home base of the One True Church of America -- religious movements that Nameless doesn't have a good track record with, and has done a lot to try to get rid of. Now both of these cities have plans for Babylon and Nameless -- but it's clear that pretty much all the White City wants out of them is abject surrender and assimilation. That's just not going to sit well with Nameless.
Now Nameless has to look at the world that he's helped to create, but he has a chance to reshape it, and save the city he's adopted.
There's some soul-searching here, there's a lot of exploration into what makes Nameless tick and his origins. But the focus is on what he's going to do next and why. This is only the third book in the series, so you really can't say what a "typical" Nameless book would be -- but whatever that would be, this isn't it. I don't know how to really talk about it without divulging all the nuts and bolts of the plot, sadly. There are old friends and new, old threats and new (and some old friends are new threats and vice versa). Which is not to say that the core of Nameless -- a ruthless, skillful killer of all in his way -- isn't there, he is and he does. But there's a little more to him than just that.
I've enjoyed Miller's writing in the past, but this is at a whole new level for him. There's a complexity to his writing, a subtlety that hasn't been there before. There's a good balance of lightness and darkness in the story, the writing itself. He's clearly maturing as a writer, hopefully people give him a shot to impress them, he will.
This isn't the place to jump on for new readers -- the first two books are cheap and pretty entertaining, too, grab them first. I don't know if Miller's going to be able to keep this series going, if so, I can't wait to see where he goes from here. But if not, I'm more than satisfied with where things are left. A very satisfying ending after a good mix of thrills, fighting and character growth.
Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for this post and my honest opinion. Thanks, Mr. Miller! This didn't impact my opinion of the book in any discernible way.