The first chapter of "The Tarot Court Cards" focuses on the history of the court cards. Starting with ancient divination practices and working up to modern day influences like the golden dawn and Aleister Crowly. Informative but somewhat dry in places. Only a very small part of the book anyway. Next Warwick-Smith discusses ways to interpret the court cards. They are; as enviromental influences, as people, as other entities (Gods, etc.), or as aspects of the psyche. Again, somewhat dry but makes you think.
At this point Warwick-Smith gives her own method of interpretation. The court cards can be seen as supporters or detractors. Supporters are people who provide us with something we need to lead fulfilling lives. Detractors are people who challenge us to rise above certain issues. There is also a "parts of self" version of this where the card can represent either an inner resource or an inner challenge. What I love about this way of thinking is that each card is equal parts negative and positive. While most books say that each card can represent a negative or a positive, this is the first book I have seen that actually treats the two sides equally.
The meat of the book is a discussion of the four aspects (supporter, detracter, resource, and challenge) of each card. What really amazed me is how well the descriptions fit the cards, regardless of which of my decks I looked at. Each of the four aspects is given a one word title above the description and in most cases I just had to read the titles and it was like That's It! That's exactly what this card feels like to me. I have only modified two of cards meanings to fit my favorite deck.
After reading the four aspects of each card you will find several small layouts for use in learning how to use each aspect and one large layout. These are fun and great for getting the feel for the different aspects. Two of the excerses are deep and useful as divination in there own right. Finally there is a section on pathworking. Besides the usual instructions for entering a card there is a mediation that will allow you to meet the entire royal court. I have found it quite helpful.
At the back of the book is a summary of the aspects of each card, with only two sentences on each card. While not nearly as insightful as the full descriptions, this is great for looking at when you forget the meaning of a card. There is also a rip-out chart with literally just the names of the four aspects.
Overall a great book. And one that sheds light on an area of tarot that is often ignored or shoved in a corner.