I thought it was a great book with amazing characterisation, and it was the first historical fantasy I've read. There were a couple of things that annoyed me: The death of Velaz (when it seemed like it should have been Rodrigo) - it seemed that the expendable one died, not the one who you'd grown really attached to The revival of Diego The outcome of the final duel They were all handled excellently, and were done for a good reason, but I can't help thinking that particularly the revival of Diego was unnecessary. It was a very powerful scene - but it lost that power when he didn't actually die. To me, it feels like Kay is someone who doesn't want his major characters to be harmed, but he realises that it's necessary for them to die sometimes. It definitely works quite well, but sometimes I think he could afford to be a bit harsher. Calandra - I haven't read the Sarantine Mosaic, but its supposed to be based on the Byzantine Empire with a pseudo - Emperor Justinian, which places it a few hundred years before The Lions of Al-Rassan. It's the same world because it is effectively our world, with a few changes.