General Tao is a champion of his people, returning home from defeating the Gorr, a beastlike species of fighters. But while his people welcome him with open arms, his brother-in-law, King Xim, does not. The king thinks Tao wants to usurp the crown and in his paranoia, throws Tao in the dungeon to face treason charges. Tao's good friend Markam is a palace guard and part of a rebel movement that sees Xim as unfit for the throne. He helps devise an escape for Tao and sets him up to hide in the neighboring ghettos of the Kurel people.
Elsabeth is a Kurel who is also dedicated to taking down Xim. But her reasons are personal; he was behind the raid that killed her parents. Now, she's hiding Tao because she believes he is humanity's best hope to be the new king.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a romance, but so much more. The world building was fascinating. The author has set up a futuristic otherworld where the human factions are as clearly defined as the mongrel Gorr. It's captivating to watch Tao and Elsabeth overcome their misconceptions about each other and fall in love. But the action and the intrigue was every bit as interesting. There were also great secondary characters, like Markam and Queen Aza.
There is a little bit of sex, but the book is more about the emotional connection of the characters, and even though I generally like smut, I didn't feel cheated.
I really enjoyed this one, in part because it was unique and refreshing, but also because it was just plain good. 4 1/2 stars.