This is the second book of The Orokon pentalogy (after The Harlequin's Dance, and before Sultan of the Moon and Stars, Sisterhood of the Blue Storm, and Empress of the Endless Sun).
In this volume, Jemany and Catayana have been separated.
Cata, whose mind has been wiped clear, has been turned into a fine young lady and now lives with her grotesque Aunt Umbecca in the city of Agondon. Hopefully, Nirry the maid is still around to help her out of her catatonia.
Jem, no more a cripple, has also left Irion and is now travelling in disguise with a troupe of Vaga-players, making friends with a Vaga-boy, Rajal. As told by Harlequin, Jem must reach Agondon, where he will meet his mysterious guardian Lord Empster and get clues for his quest: the second Crystal of the Orokon.
The book is full to the brim with characters, mostly high society members plotting against each other, and soldiers preparing for the oncoming war in Wrax. Among the latter is lewd Polty Veeldrop, now a captain in the blue army, who still slavers over Cata.
I found the beginning of this second volume wearisome. Many chapters about young ladies being prepared to enter the polite society of Agondon (but dying before they can) were rather superfluous in my opinion. Only in the final two parts, when battle is looming near, does the story pick up again. I really enjoyed meeting Bob Scarlett's band of highwaymen, and reading about Crum and Morvy, two soldiers of the blue army, who end up joining them.