In Princeps, Quaeryt and Vaelora do not get much of a honeymoon. Shortly after they are married and Quaeryt becomes the Princeps of Tilbor, Vaelora’s brother Bhayar sends Quaeryt on another assignment. This assignment is a promotion to governor of a region that has recently been devastated by a natural disaster. (It seems that Quaeryt has become the guy who gets to put out all the political fires. It is also fairly obvious Quaeryt is mostly going along with this in hopes of furthering his own ambitions which is not something I see very often in political-type fantasy storylines. The only loyalty Our Protagonist has is toward Vaelora and his own agenda. It’s a nice change of pace.)
When Quaeryt arrives, he quickly discovers that the disaster is not the only problem in the region. He discovers a great deal of criminal activity and corruption in both the local government and local law enforcement. When he attempts to enact changes, he is blocked at every turn by the local nobility and by the local business owners.
In addition, he also has to find living quarters that are acceptable to his wife and which match his new position. Problem: The city has been completely destroyed by the natural disaster. Problem Two: Quaeryt knows next to nothing about how to run a large household. This results in some marital strife as Vaelora attempts to get Quaeryt to live in a manner to which he must become accustomed.
Despite various obstacles and roadblocks, Quaeryt manages to make some headway in improving the situation and begins the rebuilding process. Unfortunately, Bhayar decides to remove him from his position as a governor and reassign him to the front, where he is put in command of a group of imagers. His task is to find ways to make imagers useful in combat. (Quaeryt continues to hide his own imaging capabilities, even when working with the imagers. This is occasionally funny.)
I felt that this book lagged a little in comparison to the previous novels in the series. The world building however is still top notch and I am fascinated by the discoveries that Quaeryt makes as he applies his skills as a scholar to the study of imaging. Seeing the way Quaeryt discovers the science of imaging that Rhenn learns about in his own time is interesting because you can see the progression of knowledge. (Though I also experienced a lot of dissonance at the same time, because Quaeryt does not know about or practice any of the safety restrictions that Rhenn lives with. And by dissonance, I mean I spent a lot of time waiting for spontaneous combustion to occur because Quaeryt is not sleeping in a lead-lined room.) Overall, I really enjoyed the book despite its transitional “middle book” feel.