Windwir is a marvelous city, the home of the Androfrancine Order, where they carefully gather the remnants of knowledge in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world. (I think. Some of the magics appear to not be science they don't understand -- prophetic dreams, most obviously -- but the science they have is so advanced that that appearance may be false.) They have done this for centuries -- "protecting the light" -- for a massive accumulation and the ability to make such things as clockwork automata, whether men or birds, which also led to power and wealth.
This makes its destruction, and the death of everyone in it, in the opening chapter a world-shaking event.
Rudolfo, the Gypsy King, hastens to Windwir to help. There he finds Sethbert, a lord responsible (evidence quickly indicates) for the destruction, and his consort Jin Li Tam, the daughter of the intriguing house of Tam. He recovers a metal man that Sethbert used and found himself being blamed for the destruction. A fisherman, Petronus, comes and starts to bury the dead, and finds his own past being dragged out. Neb, the son of a member of the Order, starts with a will to assassinate Sethbert and finds himself drawn into Petronus's orbit, and that of the mysterious Marshers.
A richly detailed world contains an intricate plot that slowly unwinds all the plotting, intrigue, and power plays behind the destruction, and reveals all that the fascinating characters have done and will do on their various plans.