In Lord of Emperors, the story and characters come together like a colorful tapestry.
Caius "Crispin" Crispus and the City of Sarantium are the heart and soul of the book. Rustem the physician, Shirin (the well-known dancer for the Greens), Valerius II and his wife Alixana (the Emperor and Empress-a former dancer herself), Styliane Daleina and her Supreme Strategos husband Leontes, Carullus and Kasia, Queen Gisel of the Antae - they are the threads that provide the brilliant colors that are woven into the tapestry.
The intrigue of the Sarantine court, the past that provides incentive towards deposing the emperor - but will everything work out as expected? The changes that are wrought, the perceptions of the rank and file, and - simply - how every character tries to live life as best they can within the confines of the times and social class they live in are what bring full flavor to the story.
While Lord of Emperors is the second book of the Sarantine Mosaic, I think that it can be read as a stand-alone. Having said that, the glimpses provided of what must have taken within the first book (Sailing to Sarantium), reading it would be recommended.
Mr. Kay provides a good few hours of enjoyment with this glimpse into Sarantium and I did not want the book to end.
In the golden city of Sarantium, the renowned mosaicist Crispin seeks to fulfill his artistic ambitions and his destiny high upon a dome intended to be the emperor's enduring sanctuary and legacy. But the emperor is plotting a conquest of Crispin's homeland to regain an empire. And with his fate entwined with that of his royal benefactor, Crispin's loyalties come with a very high price.