I must admit that when I picked up this book I had no idea what to expect. I was in the mood for a castle, prince and princess story. I was delighted to find out that it was exactly what I wanted - with a lot more adventure mixed in than I had anticipated. It started out with a short history of the kingdom. You learn to like Eliana from when she's small, along with her nursemaid and Priest Sherwyn. You love her father and his kindness to his daughter and to his people.
Then you add the villain. This book has a variety of villains. They're smarter and more cunning than most villains. Personally I love Daimh. He's a good-looking guy that loves himself more than anything and he's not exactly a bright person. But he speaks up when it is most needed - even if its not often enough. His dad and the magistrate Caldre however are villains that you want to see brought to justice. You also have other villains that are bullies who enjoy using their positions to abuse others.
There are several tragic events in this book and you get hit hard with every one of them. The book was well-written and kept you at the edge of your seat from beginning to end. It all comes to an exciting conclusion that you will have to read!