The Painter Knight
Tales of the Branion Realm: Book Two
Bisexual protagonists; egalitarian. Gay-positive world based loosely on historical Britain. Strong female characters.
A highly placed deMarian is plotting against the throne, the ultimate goal of the cabal being to place himself upon it. Surprise. So far, nothing new under the Branion sun.
Fortunately, the story gets better along the way, although the pacing varies quite excessively. The characters are nicely drawn, which is helped by the fact that this time they come not only from royal/noble families.
What annoyed the hell out of me was that five-year-old (!) Kassandra took control over situations, manipulated people and came up with Salomonic decisions in several scenes like an old sage. And all that while lisping childishly and demanding a nappy and a play-toy horsey and whatnot. Apart from that it's a fun ride though, sometimes "road-trippy," sometimes angsty, and sometimes excitingly suspenseful.
Also, I liked the ending, but the last two or three pages should be ripped out. Nothing like spoiling a perfectly sweet ending "cake" if you will, by pouring corn syrup en masse on it just for the sake of it. Or, less would have been more.
Less gay content than in The Stone Prince. A lesser read too, but still recommendable.
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