The Prologue is not completely played out in this novel and hints about magic, but for the most part the story does not involve magical elements. The focus is on political intrigue in the courts that is a bit simple plot wise and a girl, Cithrin, setting up a bank in a trading port. The chapters have alternating points of view. Cithrin's point of view involves commerce and the struggle to rise to the top. Marcus, as a character, protects her and finds some redemption in it. He doesn't change much inside except in fondness toward Cithrin. His character has no hope in the world and lost interest when his wife and daughter were murdered in front of him. Geder, the other character, is a pawn in court politics. His character got muddled for me at times. I thought he'd be more traumatized from his decision at the city of Vanai.
There isn't a lot of fighting action. At least not like the ruthless action found in Game of Thrones. You won't get that in this novel. Cithrin's character outshines the other two and was more completely developed than Geder or Marcus. She's a banker and the plot twists were the most surprising in her story arc. The book ends on an exciting audit. That's right. Pretty creative writing when the author can make an audit interesting. An entertaining book while I travel, although I've read 2 adult books in a row and am ready to snarf some kids books.