Vlad’s wife Cawti is involved in something that could easily be called a combined Easterner/Teckla revolutionary cell. The problem is that the would-be revolutionaries come into conflict with a local Jhereg boss, and this in turn is a danger for Vlad’s wife, which is the reason why he becomes involved.
This is a bit of a departure from the first four books in the series, this time there’s no complicated conspiracy or a lighthearted adventure like in the earlier books (at least as far as they were really lighthearted). The one thing that stands out is that this book really adresses the fact that Vlad is an assassin, that he kills people for a living, but thankfully Brust doesn’t try to write a redemption arc for Vald.
There are also other things going on, the relationship between Vlad and Cawti shows some deep cracks, and while they don’t break up completely with each other, neither does it really look fine at the end of the book. Then there’s the revolutionary, free-the-Teckla, down-with-the-empire angle, with is interesting, since you don’t expect to see that in most fantasy books, but it was something I liked seeing, so no complaint from me there.
I liked the book like all the others in the series, but I could understand if others would have a different opinion, since it is at least in parts a departure from how Brust handled the other books.