It turns out that becoming one of the most powerful people in New Atlantis isn't exactly what Rune St. John expected. So far its mostly been about pouring vast amounts of his hard won money into reclaiming Sun Estate. With only three adults, four teens, one ten year old, and a few employees its barely worthy of the word "court". Still, they are forcing Rune to actually hold audiences once a week where his friends rate his performance while settling differences between the gardeners and such. Both Brand and Rune are therefore delighted when Lady Priestess has an emergency at her posh rejuvenation clinic. Someone, apparently an anonymous lady who was disappointed that the rejuve didn't work, went on a murderous rampage killing dozens. Alas, while Arcana might act in emergencies, Rune is dismayed to discover that Arcana aren't allowed to investigate things anymore. Oh well, back to planning his Coronation and playing with his arthritic dinosaur. Luckily, the murderous lady crashes his Coronation party and makes dramatic threats.
Rune has some unusual problems setting up his Court. His fourteen year old heir is a Principality and has already done things that make even the Tower blink. Annawan is without doubt the most powerful Atlantean born since the Atlantean War, but still a prickly, moody teenager. Addam is a wonderful man and Rune wants to propose. He even bought a ring. Although Addam basically lives on Sun Estate, Rune is afraid that Addam will realize that he could easily do better or that Lady Justice will object to her son marrying the newest and weakest Arcana. Tensions with Justice only get worse when Addam's aunt Diana interviews them and decides that she will be their Seneschal. Yes, those interviews usually go the other way and no, Diana doesn't care. On the bright side she knows far more about the Arcanum than Rune does. Also, don't forget the dinosaur, and former familiar, Flynn, because he has a role despite the arthritis.
Those little out of place moments in the first two books? Dealing with the powerful and arrogant "Lady Jade", her room had a green door and they have to call her something, brings several big secrets into the light. Although not around when Rune's father was killed, Lady Jade managed to connect with those behind the fall of the Sun Court. Following her trail leads Rune to learn more about his hidden enemies and it forces him to reveal the one thing he kept hidden that night. A secret he has already killed to keep. Ciaran and the Tower have also been keeping big secrets.
One of the hardest things for Rune to accept in all this is that he actually has people to depend on now. Brand always, but he begins to accept that Ciaran is a real friend and that Lady Death is like the sister he was separated from at birth. He has always been grateful to the Tower but never dared consider him a friend. Now he has Addam, Diana, and the kids. Still harder is understanding that others love you enough to die for you.
This third book feels like the best so far. Part of that is coming into it with an understanding of the world and the magic that I picked up in the first two books. Book one had a lot of information to absorb and the second was very grim. Here there is some gore but most of the "violence" is offscreen so to speak. This is also the wittiest book thanks to the sheer insanity that is the building of the Sun Court and especially the larger role for Lady Death. The central plot has a very comic book style villain, she even monologues at one point. Her story explores some of Atlantis' history and explains more why Rune's ancestors forbid some magics. Delving back into the fall of his father's Sun Court is still dark and grim but since that mystery forms the core of the continuing storyline it was satisfying to learn more.