An excellent debut. Sprunk does so many things right, from using sophisticated vocabulary just enough to add flavor but still be discerned in context and never too much to distract from the narrative. His sword fighting scenes are top notch, as if he himself were an experienced fencer (he says he's not). His protagonist is an anti-hero, a noble born orphan assassin, but unlike so many, Sprunk counters him perfectly with a truly heroic companion in Josephine, a woman whose nobility and honor and purity more than make up for any deficiencies in Caim, By fighting to save her, we can't help but root for him. It's clever and overcame even the tiredness of a reader who's worn out from too many anti-heroes (like me). His world building is well handled. I don't recall a single infodump (rare for a first novel). And the pacing and POV choices aid the telling of the story well, moving it along at just the right clip, with just the right perspectives at each moment. Well plotted, with good character development of the two antagonists and two leads, the only faults I saw were leaving the shadows too much in mystery, at least until the end, when Caim discoveries some history and his own connection to them. Frankly, I think it would have helped us to understand a little more about them throughout or at least learn more as we went, rather than have them shrouded in mystery the whole time. It certainly might have increased tension and our fear or suspense. The second is a minor quibble. The scene at the end where Caim discovers his own connection played out a little farcical because of parallels to a famous movie scene. But neither of my complains will dampen the experience of reading this well crafted tale. Highly recommended.