There's a murderer loose in the Imperial Court: it could mean war in this 'twisty and enjoyable tale' (SFX) and 'wholly convincing fantasy world' says Ben Aaronovitch, bestselling author of Foxglove Summer. After years locked in a tower, Sarmin has come into his own: he has been crowned emperor, he has wed Mesema of the grasslands, and the Pattern Master is dead. Everything should be happy-ever-after. But war is threatening, Sarmin has no royal assassin and both Mesema and his mother have given birth to sons, throwing the succession into question. The last thing anyone needs is for the Yrkman peace envoy to be murdered in his bed. There are numerous possible killers, and it's up to Grada, Sarmin's trusted investigator, to follow the clues - no matter how close to the throne they lead her. Conspiracies, secret agendas and betrayals abound in this riveting sequel to The Emperor's Knife.