The 4th volume of the Labors of Ki'shto'ba the warrior termite. In this book, Ki'shto'ba and its friends find the prophesied 9th and 10th members of the companions.
Ki'shto'ba literally must enter Hell (and I know what literally means) to face his past and forgive himself for its self-perceived crimes. Led by an unusual alate bard, Bu'gan'zei, Ki'shto'ba faces some of those he killed and answers the right question.
As the companions continue their journey to the ocean, the 10th companion turns out to be a fractious intercaste (mixed breed) who is both alate and warrior. The mystery of the prophecy of her origin is cleared up, and the journey continues.
None of this will make much sense to you unless you've read the previous three volumes. I consider it well worth your time to do so. I'm looking forward to the 5th volume. Alas, I have so many other books I must read first.
[A parenthetical comment: v.5 (The Wood Where the Two Moons Shine) is written but hasn't been published yet. It will come within a few months.]
I've become a fan of Lorinda Taylor's complex alien termite tales. If you'd asked me before I read the first of her books if I'd want to twist my brain around names like Ki'shto'ba or Di'fra'kro'mi, I would have said it was unlikely for me to get so involved with these people.
If you haven't read any of the Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head books, you might want to start your journey with the intelligent alien termites with "The Termite Queen." The presence of human interpreters allows readers to become familiar with the alien world.
These books are epic in scope. No doubt because Ms. Taylor uses human mythology as the framework. Translating myth to an alien world isn't a new technique, but these books have so much depth to them you never feel you're reading some Disneyesque retelling, but a truly serious experience. But the humor of the characters comes through as well to lighten the tale.
Highly recommended. Matter of fact, I'm going to break my general rule of no more than 4 stars because I can't wait to read volume 5 and beyond.