Lawrence Watt-Evans has written a number of good books, usually in the light fantasy vein. This latest effort is a more serious and more complex story. Unfortunately, it works less well. The story is formal, slow-moving, not very interesting, and ends abruptly.
One blurb claims “nothing will ever be simple for” the hero, and to a point, that’s true. But the complications feel manufactured – not an organic outgrowth of the plot, but a conscious decision: “put an obstacle here.” Discussions and introspection about political ramifications are more tedious than interesting, and suggest a hero more self-centered than socially conscious. Personal relationships are barely developed, and dialogue tends towards stilted.
I can’t recommend this book. Watt-Evans has produced some enjoyable stories, but this is not one of them.