Thanks to her traitorous father, Lillian and her family have been shamed. Though society expects her to drink the final draught and commit suicide to restore her family’s honor, she chooses to endure trial by ordeal – which includes her being apprenticed to a “family” in the Cartel. But being an apprentice isn’t just about learning. While she’s under her bond her lord owns her mind, soul, and body, and she is his to do what he pleases with. In all ways. And he does. A lot.
There are a lot of sex scenes in this book, though none of them use the “cruder” words you often see in erotica. Beyond the sex is an interesting plot involving vistrite, a mineral used in technology, and Lilian’s discovery of a counterfeiting operation.
The characters were interesting, and the world was very detailed and well fleshed out with a complete history. A Who is who chart in the back along with a glossary could be useful if you get lost along the way.
The book did lose a balloon for me because her “lord”, who there is obviously supposed to be a romance developing with, is happily married. Though it is explained that this society finds nothing wrong with it – his wife has no objections – it did take away from it for me.