No, not another vampire yarn, but a sequel to Feist's vast and overextended fantasy Riftwar trilogy (following A Darkness at Sethanon, 1986), with the magical elements here downplayed and the emphasis on intrigue. Borric and Erland, the young and irresponsible princes of Krondor, must travel to the empire of Kesh on a diplomatic mission, accompanied by their tutors, the barons James and Locklear. While on the road, Borric is mysteriously kidnapped--and, inexplicably, manages to overhear details of a plot to assassinate himself and his brother. (But has Borric been set up?) Meanwhile, Erland proceeds to Kesh, where more aspects of the plot come to light. Borric escapes, to try and warn his father, prince Arutha; Erland and the barons are drawn into the heart of Kesh's bloody power struggle. Likely to please existing fans, but for those less starry-eyed: juvenile, theatrical, and unimaginative.