It took me weeks to finish this off: I just kept on saying "I'll finish it another time" which though completely irrational a behaviour does not exactly argue for the value of this book.
And yet there are so many things to be liked.
This new serial by Ms Patton is explicitly set in an Instambul-like town surrounded by foes who closely resemble Greeks, Slavs and (turkish?) nomadic tribes. Even the book cover and dedication confirm this.
Instead of the expected Islam-like religion (and despite ever present towers strongly resembling minarets) the author prefers to introduce sort of an animistic one, administrated by shamans (called wyrdin, seers and many other names) who try to control an immense variety of spirits of unknown origin for a variety of reasons, including theft, warfare and religious fanatism.
Six of these spirits have infact touched the waters of the lake, an immense reservoir of mystical power, becoming actual, powerful (but not allmighty) gods.
One may also add that Ms Patton has developped further some ideas about society previously found in her Branion series.
In this new world of hers there are men, women and bigenders (these last sometimes able to shift from one extreme to the other of their sexuality, seemingly at will), all perfectly equal and equally strong (two of the six gods are bigender).
If gender is irrelevant, sexual orientation is a non issue (two important side character, Kemal and Yashar, are well respected soldiers and are in a passionate long term relationship without anyone having anything to say about it, not even their female goddess).
Our traditional roles are deliberately annihilated: as in the Branion series honorifics are grammatically invariable and the two goddesses are therefore called "god".
Ms Patton goes further though: if family is the basic cell of this society too, the twist is that the gender of the couple is irrelevant, that there might be no couple at all but just one person, that children love as "parent(s)" the person(s) who take(s) care of them and may be unrelated to them by blood.
All the above is very interesting and refreshing, the writing is to the point and proficient, the plot is well developped (some minor inconsistencies as well as a couple of typos are probably due to the editor), the characters are potentially interesting and yet all this never comes to life.
I was always left cold, the characters likeable but never really alive and I never could relate to them.
Possibly all this mumbling about prophecies, alternative futures, all these vague plot threads to be tied did not help me to get involved: quite a basic flaw in any fantasy novel.