Very good installment in a series that gets better with each new novel. Akitada moves to the Northern part of the empire, newly assigned governor of Echigo. A cold, isolated place where the local lord is the law. Lots of intrigues, some good characters development, new friends and foes add to the already mismatched team supporting Akitada in his new post. Parker succeeds in bringing new readers into an existing series quite easily, you don't need to start with the first book, you can start with this one and go back. She also makes faithful readers comfortable and happy to meet old friends again.