Although this book seemed to be missing the novel ideas found in the Long Price Quartet (the Andat being the prime example), it was still a very good read. The characters were interesting and well-drawn. It moved along at a nice clip and he certainly seems to have built a good setup for some horrific game-changing events in book two. One double-cross in the book was extremely predictable, but, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and see it as an exercise in dramatic irony. I'll read the next book, certainly, but I wish he'd stuck to building his fantasy worlds from scratch instead of choosing such a seemingly familiar setting for his story. But, based on the interview in the back of the book, this was intentional, and he's choosing to perhaps invert some conventions of the genre. The Geder character seems in keeping with this strategy.