A venture into fantasy for her. Starting with Cazaril, a worn man all but creeping along the road to a place where he thought he might find refuge. After a disatrous campaign, he had been sold as a galley slave, and freed only by a chance capture by another navy.
At the castle, the Provincara remembers him from when he was a page there. Her daughter, the -- dowager queen -- is there with her two children the half siblings of the -- king. (The terms are all invented. They work smoothly though, in the work. I will translate here.) And their grandmother smoothly appoints him her granddaughter Iselle's tutor and secretary. Their poor mother is mad. And when the king invites them to court without their mother or grandmother, she is terrified.
Cazaril does his best at court to guide Iselle through the maelstrom -- helped that her brother is the heir. When the Chancellor goes to position himself more strongly by betrothing her against her will to his brother -- with her brother's connivence -- things heat up.
It involves the magic of that world, another kingdom where an heir revolts against his father, ghosts, pearls, the religion and gods (which are better built that in many other fantasy worlds), a crow that Cazaril feeds, a head injury that leaves a man unable to read and write, Iselle's brother getting bad advice and later, refusing medical care, and much more.