As I typically do when a Cunningham novel comes out I dropped what I was currently reading and dove right on in. And once again I was not at all disapointed. This is a continuation in the Counselors and Kings trilogy. As with most second novels this one reveals many of the hidden action, creating more conflict in an increasingly chaotic world. Previously Halruaa was seen as a very orderly law driven community. In Magehound and even more so in Floodgate the chaos, deception, and the usual bereaucracy unseen by most citizens in a strong noble community is revealed. I think the most amazing thing of any Cunningham novel however is the reality of her characters. Rarely purely evil, or purely good as seen in so many fantasy novels. Always the shades of grey that make us think, and help us identify with them. This one is no different. From the obviously tortured soul of the villian Kiva, to the confusion of Matteo and his boyhood friend Andris, their eyes opening to a strange many layered web of a world, and their different chosen paths within it. And most of all, the young heroin Tzigone. A powerful girl in a very cruel world, simply doing anything she can to survive and to find out who she is, as we all do. But this novel has more than just strong characters. It has a tight plot, that doesn't stray to far from its purpose, though you sometimes wish it would so you could learn more of the world around. And, of course, good battle scenes. This is a treat for any fantasy fan and I simply can't wait for the final installment.