The Deepest Poison (Clockwork Dagger Duology #0.5) – Beth Cato



Octavia Leander, a young healer with incredible powers, has found her place among Miss Percival’s medicians-in-training. Called to the frontlines of a never-ending war between Caskentia and the immoral Wasters, the two women must uncover the source of a devastating illness that is killing thousands of soldiers. But when Octavia’s natural talents far outshine her teacher’s, jealousy threatens to destroy their relationship—as time runs out to save the encampment.

Fans of Beth Cato’s debut, The Clockwork Dagger, will love this journey into Octavia’s past—as well as an exclusive excerpt from the sequel, The Clockwork Crown!


This will be short, as the story itself is. The Deepest Poison is a stand-alone short story set before the events of The Clockwork Dagger. It really does what I like stories of this nature to do: present with us new material that deepens our understanding of characters we’ve met before. As a bonus, the story is written in such a way that newcomer’s to Cato’s world could easily hop in and be able to understand the action, even if they don’t necessarily understand what exactly a medician is.

I really have no complaints, just a warning: if you’re late to the duology and think to start here because chronologically, the action is first, I’d say don’t. One of the central mysteries of the first book – Octavia’s betrayer – is easy enough to figure out as it is; if you read this first than it absolutely removes any mystery there it because you aren’t as innocent as Octavia is.

Overall, I’m still not totally sold on selling short stories like this, but I have to say that if more of them were of this quality, I’d certainly be more open to the practice.

Verdict: Buy it

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