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I planned this novel as the Iskander version of the Man in the Iron Mask trope. To fit it into the Iskander story-line it had to be turned around...instead of the mystery man who is incarcerated for an unknown purpose, we have a missing person whos dungeon is unknown and the key to solving the riddle is to prove that the person taking his place is a fraud.Gisel has to penetrate the dangerous palace to take DNA samples from the impostor. She follows the mans young sister though secret passages that only they knew and has to win a silent swordfight to avoid waking the whole palace. But that is only the start of her problems...Commandante Zagdorf, the Emperors top spymaster, is soon on the trail, and the more successful Gisel becomes, the closer Burgundene gets to a full-blown civil war.The background of the novels plot follows on from the Islanders plan to use their knowledge to change society that we saw in the first novel, Arrival. It seems that it is very dangerous to become Iskanders friend, because the Emperors minions are in perpetual alert to prevent their world changing manufactures from being established before the Iskander plan can take off. However, without the use of the Iskanders hi-tech spaceplane, the communications network, and the nuclear powered Sirius they would not have the slightest hope of pulling off their covert attack on the Empires hegemony.Gisels life...and her love life...are both on show in this story. The assassin/sword-master BelGassem shows up from where he was at the end of Arrival and the reader gets a hint of the plan she had entertained to elope with him and sail to the rich spice lands. He is more than twice her age, so every one of her companions tries to keep them apart. But Gisel is a little older and wiser now and knows her reckless plan would have failed even if her father had not spirited her away. She will accept the rapier and mane gauche of his that saves her in the palace, but returns them to him because she will not use them again to enter into the life of an assassin.

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