My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An excellent tale of cunning, court intrigue, warriors and love, using an "Asian" rather than "European" setting. Many lives are interwoven as disgraced Captain Kellas of the king's own Black Wolves begins to explore a mystery over 20 years in the making.
I loved the characters, especially the elderly women and men who demonstrated once again that age, patience and cunning will beat youth and dexterity. It was enjoyable at a very personal level.
What wasn't enjoyable at a personal level, and what kept me from giving it five stars, was the use of anti-Semitic stereotypes and tropes in the portrayal of the Ri Amarah. I believe it was the intention of the author to show what can happen to an outcast people who worship and live differently than the majority population, but the focus on their lust for wealth and talent at trade, their lives in walled enclaves in the cities (ghettos), their being under the king's protection so they can loan him money, the belief that men hide horns under their head coverings, insistence on endogamous marriage, a protagonist named Sarai--all of it yanked me out of the story.
However, I do want to read the next novel to find out what happens, and I cannot fault the author's outstanding skills at world-building and story telling.
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