This book is a return to older form, with Vlad chasing down a mystery. Unfortunately the story falls flat due to the massive baggage Vlad has accumulated as the main storyline progressed.
This time Vlad is called upon to resolve a situation in South Adrilanka while the Jhereg are still looking to put a morganti knife in him. This leads to a book where most of the time is Vlad spending hiding from them while eking out information.
It's not very compelling.
The usual timeskips are there as well, this time with a new character, another Lavode, which suggests that there is more epic storyline to come in the future. Unfortunately I don't really care about it anymore. Brust just can't write such things in a way that I find compelling.
And I finally realize the main thing that has been bugging me about this series. Vlad as a character is too passive. The books (and Dzur as well) frequently start with something being thrust upon him and then he has to deal with it. He rarely seems to improve his situation on his own, opting to just do the bare minimum to survive. That might be in character, but it doesn't make for a compelling read.
I got pretty far into this series on inertia alone and the fact that the books are relatively short also helped. I feel I'm done with this series, having gotten the highlights already. I expect the remaining books to be more mediocrity. I'm certain that there is going to be a resolution to the many hints dropped to Vlad's final destiny, but as Brust can't write epic, I'm not interested in finding out as I'm probably going to be disappointed.
It's time to move on. :)