While awaiting trial for regicide, con artist Michael Kingman tells the tense, convoluted story of how he found himself imprisoned and how, a decade before the novel opens, his father was executed for murdering the king’s son. The setting is the Hollow, a land where the monarchy is barely hanging on to power, rebellion is rife and civil war looms. Michael comes from a once-exalted line of royal advisers. He charts his own fall alongside his investigation into his father’s alleged crime, depicting a fractured society and a code of magic known as Fabrication – the misuse of which can result in devastating memory loss. Martell’s portrayal of his protagonist’s growth, from a cocksure chancer to a mature adult sobered by his discoveries, is just as impressive as the twisty plot.