This book starts three years after the Mage has been "recruited" by the King of Mars. As usual, it's action packed and as long as you like the meme "superman swoops in to save the world" you'll find this a worthy successor to the first book. I don't like stupid. Both in this series (this book) and in the duchess series, stupid abounds. Worse the villains are such horrible people that Stewart's efforts to show us their side is implausible. Villainous and 2-dimensional - Snidely Whiplash type of villainy. In both series, a prisoner is so ineffectively controlled as he plays a major role in plot development. Completely implausible - unless you convince yourself that those in security has the intelligence of a turnip. I almost stopped reading at that point. I don't understand why such ridiculous asinine plot devices are used here. (I also don't understand why binary poisons are any more effective that any other). The world lacks any effective AI, and drones/automation seems to be stuck mid-1960. For instance, given clear and convincing evidence that the governor is a criminal how could Mars possibly not know that the Navy had to be involved? Why would the only person who could arrest the governor delay that arrest and go to meet him for dinner? (as people literally DIE around the planet) A simple game theoretic assessment would show the high likelihood of an assassination attempt, wouldn't it? If you can read around the stupid and implausible, it's fun. I know Stewart is capable of writing better, but if the next book in the series is as bad, it'll be my last. It's kinda like finding a fly in your soup, once *might* be forgivable, but only just.