(actually 3.5 rounded down) To be honest, there was a lot more in this book that I liked than I disliked, but I think it's mostly the writing and organization that gives this novel a low rating. Pacing was not consistent throughout the novel and it put me off. It starts off at a very slow, deliberate pace. Then three quarters the way through it picks up lighting-fast and becomes this great page-turner only to have it drop and describe the rest of the plot in a narrative between two characters. The first half goes into detail about the politics and relationships and the development of characters I assumed were vital to the story only to have the last third mention what happened to them and (in some cases) their deaths in passing. Don't get me wrong, there was much I liked about this book, the way it combined past and present one of them. I had thought from the beginning that the past-present connection would be cheesy and was dreading the moment the connection happened, but it was actually pretty heartfelt and meaningful. I really enjoyed that part. Some characters were not as fleshed out as others (even though they were the main characters) but others were gloriously three-dimensional and won my heart. Guilhem in particular is in my opinion the strongest character and what kept the book going near the end for me. All in all, this book had great depth in politics and atmosphere and setting but lacked in development and organization. Still a good and interesting read, though.