One of the things I most enjoyed about Patton's first novel, _The Stone Prince_ was the richness and depth of setting. One knew that she had reams and reams of notes about customs and history. In _The Painter Knight_ she tells us of one of the darker chapters in Branion's history.
The level of intrigue and backstabbing in this novel is matched only English history. The intense story filled with its wonderfully human characters (who have vices in proportion to virtue) kept me enthralled.
If nothing else, Patton reminds me a bit of Robert Jordan in her ability to create dynamic women characters. And I give her all due homage for not sidestepping the issue of human sexuality.
But, I did find one or two things a bit annoying. Kassandra's lisp and childish talk grates after about 20 pages, and though she's a bright child, I cannot believe that a 4 year old can make some of the incredibly adroit political moves she pulls off -- she acts like a 20 year old at times.
Despite that, I've put noticible wear and tear on my copy, which is perhaps the greatest praise an author could ask for.