I just love this book--even when it looks like it's about to make a misstep, it instead works some magic! for instance, it seemed obvious who was embezzling from Demion's business, and, as it turned out, the "unmasking" did lead to Mr. Obvious. but the scene with Katriona (a wonderfully charismatic female character) confronting the creep is done with such wit and style (and alchemy) that it doesn't matter that some little whodunit scenario wasn't part of it. and there was a really cool little twist at the end of the scene, anyway, that had nothing to do with sacking the thief, but just completed the whole scene to perfection (dialogue is still so fine, at great moments. at all moments). and if the only other nit-pick was a lack of action sequences (a minor quibble, because the story rides on so much other good stuff), we finally get a little combat...a seemingly meaningless but entertaining one-on-one dust-up that hints at some great future fights to come. I'm just so happy to have risked this book!