There have been several strong books in this series and unfortunately, this isn’t one of them. Instead of a strong plot driving Stirling’s post-change world forward, book eight of the Novel of Change series is more like a short story collection that concentrates on filling in several blanks while focusing on secondary and background characters instead of the main characters. Although the book jacket promises to deliver more about Rudi Mackenzie’s adventures as High King of Montival, what does is present the reasons for Mary Liu’s betrayal and the consequences paid for her actions by members of House Liu. There are some good battles, more then enough culinary information and a few surprises but overall, this feels like a “filler” book to the series. As with any long running series, readers need to start with earlier books in order to make any sense of the characters and story.