I had listened to this on audio when it first came out, and didn’t really like it as much as I liked the original three Paks books; turned out I just didn’t really like the person reading the book — because when I found out the third in this series had just came out, I went ahead and read this one (and the next, which I had never picked up) so that I’d be caught up on the series. What a page-turner! I don’t remember most of what happened, the reader of the audio book must have been that wretched. Reading the actual book? It was wonderful to be back in that world. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read the Deeds of Paksenarrion books, and getting into this was like visiting friends I’d lost track of.
Having said that, had you not read the first three, you wouldn’t be lost; Paks is merely a side character in this arc, and previous storylines are mentioned in ways that had you not read the first three you wouldn’t be lost (and yet, if you have read them, you also wouldn’t be bored with the recap).
I absolutely devoured this book, and went right into the next one.