I don’t normally write up my rereads (my original review is here), but when I picked this book up on my half off spree at Borders, I’d recently enough read Swordspoint (which happens twenty years before this story) that I wanted to be able to read it again with Alec and Richard’s story fresh in my head.
I got a lot out of this second read. In my first read, there didn’t seem to be a reason for the Duke’s behavior, but I understood now how much he was actually teaching Katherine to protect herself. It’s pretty clear he fully intended to make her his heir when he summoned her, but didn’t want her to victim to all of the intrigue, and the worst of the politics, of the ruling council of the city. By making her a swordsman, he gives her the tools to be more than the regular aristocratic women of the city. He also gives her the tools to be better than he was, and hopefully rise about the rather dark history of their family, and do right with the power that the Tremontaine title carries. I’m definitely glad I ran through this again, knowing the back story.