This one is a romance set in the court of King Soltran. The life of the princess is saved from the knife of an assassin by an acrobat named Talon who is actually a young woman in disguise as a man. I have a love for cross-dressing intrigues from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night onwards and this one is pretty good.
There is a nice slow character development of both Princess Shasta and Talon as they grow up from teenagers to young adults. Talon's sisters are major characters and given a fair amount of time due to their importance in the plot. The politics of the court are realistically drawn and a definite influence on the awakening of the princesses' sense of duty to her people. The religion of the land, worship of the Goddess Ithyris, is well thought out and stands in contrast to the worship of the Goddess's brother Ulrike by the barbarians in the border lands. The power of the priestesses in battle was a nice touch. Apparently this is to be the first in a series...ie we get to see the reality of life after the fairy tale ending.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source copy: Own it