In the Kingdom of Rolencia, those who own a magic known as Affinity must either serve the Abbey, be banished or face certain death, but not all those with Affinity are known and some can hide it very well.
The King's family are spread through Rolencia; the youngest son Fyn has Affinity and he is training to become an Affinity Monk, whereas the twin eldest sons are fighting to keep the land at peace and, frequent of late, each other. The only daughter holds a dark secret, but there is trouble brewing when their mysterious bastardised cousin Illien of Cobalt visits them, telling tales of his wife's and father's murder and betrayal at sea...
A semi-intriguing yarn that is pretty much standard epic fantasy: political feuds and families keeping secrets. Throw in unrequited love, children with varying special powers and hunger for power and you have a regular piece o' fantasy right in your hands.
This book did not start out well: the first half was spent setting the scene and rarely did something happen that was noteworthy. Things just seemed to potter along nicely. It was a very quick book to get through and, although the story was not terrible, it was rather tame. Toward the end the pace picked up as all the secrets began tumbling out, though it was all still rather tame. The rest of the series is not intriguing to me. It is generic fantasy and a quick read; there's not much to disappointed by if that is what you are looking for.