A famously disappointing minor royal and the Emperor’s least favorite grandchild, Prince Kiem is summoned before the Emperor and commanded to renew the empire’s bonds with its newest vassal planet. The prince must marry Count Jainan, the recent widower of another royal prince of the empire.
But Jainan suspects his late husband’s death was no accident. And Prince Kiem discovers Jainan is a suspect himself. But broken bonds between the Empire and its vassal planets leaves the entire empire vulnerable, so together they must prove that their union is strong while uncovering a possible conspiracy.
Their successful marriage will align conflicting worlds.
Their failure will be the end of the empire.
This was so good. I did not know I needed a gay space conspiracy thriller in my life, turns out I did.
The relationship between Kiem and Jainan is lovely to watch blossom as they investigate what really happened when Prince Taam was killed, unravel a plot to destabilise the treaty that keeps the Empire and its vassals from war, get to know each other better and wind up the security service.
Kiem is one of those people who lead a charmed life, people like them, even their worst moments are amusing and humanising. He can be a lot (I have a friend who is exactly the same) but he means well.
Jainan is a lot more reserved, and with reason as his story is revealed, he’s learnt to keep his thoughts to himself and make himself smaller to avoid attracting attention.
I also loved Bel, Kiem’s aide, who does her best to keep him on the straight and narrow, but has secrets of her own and not just about how she’s so organised.
This was a tremendously fun read, with lots of action and a labyrinthine conspiracy that goes all the way to the top, with the risk of serious danger the closer they get to the heart of it.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.