Having read nearly all of Mary Stewart's opus (except for the children's books), I would rank this particular story among my top five favourites. The title refers to the classical dressage movements performed by the famous Lipizzaner stallions at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Mary Stewart's books is her thorough research. I am particularly well qualified to say that, in this novel, the equestrian theme is impeccably and satisfyingly accurate and Lady Stewart's passion for horses really shines through.
The story opens on the tragic aftermath of a fire and follows a troupe of circus performers travelling through the Austrian countryside and, here again, Stewart's descriptions are a delight, and the reader is transported into a world so vividly drawn that it is difficult to imagine its modern counterpart. The other usual elements of Mary Stewart's writing are all here: intelligent narrative, a gripping plot with many twists and turns, superbly drawn characters and more than a dash of humour. One of the pivotal scenes toward the end of the book is pure comedy, coming on the heels of a rather robust Bond-style chase.
If you have read and enjoyed other Stewart novels, this is one of the best. For those who are new to her work, it would be a very good place to start.