Whilst there are other gay-themed fantasy "epics" around - this is one of the best I've encountered. Firstly, it's there as one entire volume (rather than the over-played "trilogy") and secondly it's fantasy world is based on an Eastern/Indian style culture rather than the usual European - which made for a refreshing change. In overview the plot is about a power-struggle between 2 branches of a family competing for the throne. Refreshingly, there's no straight-forward "good" & "bad" sides. Each contender has their virtues & weaknesses. The terrible implications of a society run on strict religious codes(at least at the surface-level)where the class/caste a person was born to or their sexual nature can condemn them to death (or worse a living hell) also threads through every aspect of the story. The characters and the fantasy world are richly brought to life and the story gripped me from the start. I had to force myself to read the book slowly - to savour it - and not give in to the temptation to rush through it. My only criticism is that some of the vocabulory used by the author seemed inappropriate for the aforementioned eastern style she selected for her fantasy world. For example, someone describing women as "chicks" seemed totally out of place as did one reference to a character being called "gay" (and in the homosexual context). It was also a pity that the author who had described this world's culture, food, clothing etc so richly & imaginatively - couldn't apply that same imagination to the rather tedious use of "modern-day" and "americanised" swearing & other expletives. But please don't let that one failing stop you from buying this book - it's otherwise perfect!