this is high fantasy world-building without the fantasy. the novel - indeed, the trilogy - is less about constructing a thrilling narrative and more concerned with characterization and illustrating the author's central theme: change in the world must always come - the only question is in how it is accepted, how it can be made personally transformative. how will the wheels of time and change slowly exert their influence within our central character and the prince (and change-agent) that he guards, and throughout the world that is re-developing itself around them? ambiguously low-key and fascinatingly subtle. a man of war should surely be the most able to recognize the price of war, and the prize of peace.