The third book of his Spiral Arm series. Still set in the far future, filled with action, adventure, intrigue, strange, well-developed worlds -- though we get fewer of those -- complex characters, and sharp-edged discussion of matters.
Like The January Dancer, it features a character telling the story, with a parallel storyline about the audience and reactions. It is not, however, Donovan, who was kidnapped at the end of Up Jim River.
It opens with Bridget bann and her daughter Mearana discussing how Donovan vanished while apparently en route to see them. They, needless to say, scorn the official explanation, that a lowlife on the streets killed him for his ticket. (Graceful Bintstaf, another Hound like Bridget, delivered the report of that.)
And there the three of them are when a woman appears despite Bridget's security. Ravn Olafsdottr. The reader knows she kidnapped Donovan at the end of Up Jim River, and Bridget knows that (back in The January Dancer) she was trailing Donovan to kill him if he failed in his mission for the Confederacy. She wants to tell them what happened to Donovan, and why he is not here.
Into this fraught atmosphere, the tale unwinds, punctuated by discussions of its signficiance and how much of it can be trusted. She tells how she told Donovan that he should come because it was the right thing to do. And it winds on through a covert rebellion, a mechanical creature called the Frog Prince (which you do not want to kiss, or be around after someone else does), a duel and treachery, invisibility cloaks, and a Hound of Ardry mysteriously rescuing someone.