This book is part of the Imagers series but imagers are only peripherally involved. Modesitt's stories are character centric and philosophically laden. He takes you into the mind of his central character, Charyn, and allows you to see how his decisions are made and where he is planning of going. Charyn is the heir to the Rex and determined to be his own person. Lorien is the Rex and seems demanding and short sighted.
The story line includes a mistress musician who educates Charyn in music and far more than mere coital positions. Palenya illustrates the fate that lies in store for young, single women in a closed, male dominated society. This ironically appears to be carried through even in the character list in the preface of the book as she doesn't even appear to be in it. (I went over the list several times, sure I missed her name, but apparently not.)
As many of Modesitt's books there isn't non-stop action but there is action amidst the soul searching and philosophizing. There is the requisite foul treachery and rule bending justice.
I look forward to the next book with the possibility of seeing the development of a viable steam ship to provide Solidar with a more powerful navy.
This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.