It's a book that's hard to define. Set in a place that is almost Constantinople, a Constantinople of imagination. The story starts with the death of the ruler, called the Zar, and the aftereffects of that death. With the ascention of Boaz to the throne, he's underage and there is a lot of scheming and jostling for power. Many of the powerbrokers are old and have had the power they have for a long time, and know that they could influence the new Zar.
The Zar has allies, Pez, his late father's jester, a seemingly mad dwarf; Spur Lazar, head of the security and Ana, one of the new recruits for his harem, but they too have secrets.
It does contain some disturbing scenes and occasionally the story lags I did enjoy it. At first I was looking to see if it really was fantasy or just an alternate world story but there is magic here, it's fairly subtle but it's there. The battle between the Goddess and the God embodied in their two servants is also interesting.
This book does suffer from being the first in a series, in order to set up things it has to keep some questions unanswered but I enjoyed the read and look forward to the next one.