I always approach books from Bujold with anticipation. She usually tells a ripping yarn filled with bold, if eccentric, characters that come alive for me. I dove into this book with abandon, expecting the same experience. I thought the first book of the series was merely OK, but I thought "ah well, perhaps it is a scene setter" and eagerly bought this one. But I was disappointed. It is not a bad story line, and the characters are OK - but with Bujold that just isn't enough for me. The story line has none of the oomph I was expecting, and the characters, while likeable enough, are ever so slightly cardboardy and taste of saccharin. I sort of enjoyed the story - but it doesn't bear any comparison to, for example, the Chalion series, and Dag is definitely not Caz! It was a pleasant enough read - but it took me three goes to finish it rather than the all night marathon I usually have with a Bujold book. I will wait for the paperback of the next one, perhaps in the remainder bin, rather than pre-ordering the hardback.