The plot is pretty huge, and I don’t want to give away too much of it, so now I will commence gushing about all the things I loved about this book. First, there are tons of thinking characters in this book – men, women, soldiers, servants, good guys, bad guys, short, tall, crippled, healthy. Next, nature plays a big, big role as these folks lived very close to it. In fact, spoiled grain leads to one of the overwhelming illnesses. Also, the ‘wizards’ are able to converse with wildlife. Caliphestros himself would simply tell you it is science and learning and patience that allows him to use birds to send messages and to communicate with Stasi, the beautiful white panther of Davenwood. There is also plenty of humor to break up the serious tone of treachery and deceit – most of it from the Bane Hildebrant. Next, you can tell Carr did some research, pulling in elements from a long ago and all but forgotten Roman Empire, medical knowledge available at the time, military hierarchy and formations. These aspects gave the tale that feeling that maybe, just maybe, this really did happen so long ago. All in all, a most excellent read.