Saliel has two lives: to the outside world she is Lady Petra, a noblewoman of the Corhonase court. But to the three men she meets in the catacombs at night, she is known simply as Three, a spy for the country of Laurent. Her co-conspirators are One, a nobleman, Two, a servant, and the Guardian, their commander. In the above-ground world, Saliel’s job is to gain as much information as possible about Corhonase military movements; she must brave the ever-watchful eyes of the Royal Consort as she tries to blend in with the other ladies of the court. But her mission quickly takes a turn for the worse when the Consort arranges a marriage for her to the dimwitted Lord Ivo. Then a spy-catcher arrives at the court who has a sadistic streak and an uncanny ability to make people tell the truth. Saliel and her fellow spies must do their utmost to outwit him, but several twists of fate bring them into greater and greater danger.
The plot of this novel hooked me from the very beginning and never let go. It has all the elements I love in a book: fantasy, intrigue, suspense, mystery, and romance. I would probably be squeeing with delight even if it were poorly written and had wooden characters, but luckily, it avoids both of these problems! While this is certainly not a groundbreaking book in terms of style or characters, it’s quite well written, and main characters Saliel and Athan are both well-rounded and sympathetic. Gee does rely on stock character traits to some extent – the novel is definitely more plot-driven than character-driven – but the plot was enough to keep me turning the pages! I really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it wholeheartedly for those who like fantasy and political intrigue.