I finally got around to reading this book over the weekend. In common with so many books I own, it's been sitting on my shelf, unread, for over a year.

First up, a disclaimer: I've worked alongside the author on several projects for the same publisher as this book.

That said, Stolze is one of the best writers they have, and the prose he produces is always readable, and often rises well above the rather mediocre median for the game fiction world. In this book in particular, you can see him playing with themes in a way that's better suited to far more serious fiction than this piece of, with the best will in the world, lightweight reading. The plot, such as it is, chugs along at an enjoyable pace and the characters are far richer than you normally find in this form of writing.

The downside is that this is very evidently the first novel in a series. It doesn't really hang together as a narrative it its own right. While there is a distinct plot arc that is resolved, there are many others that are clearly just gearing up by the time the book ends.

Still, an enjoyable enough read for all of that.