I loved this, it's become one of my favourite books. I wasn't sure when I first started to read it, as I thought it was about elves and such...not a subject I'm particularly interested in. I was imagining little people with long pointed ears, how wrong can you be!To me this is very much an adult fantasy. The hero Duke Vahn is gorgeous! He's an Elva who are the superior race...tall, strong and elegant. Where as the Itzi are small, inferior and more often than not, slaves.
Kee a free Itzi is orphaned and chooses to become Duke Vahn's free will slave. Understandably, she falls for him. The Duke is a good man...authoritative, but kind and fair.
To me Kee epitomizes true self sacrifice and service. At first I found her irritating and annoying, but as I read on I grew to like her. She had great strength and integrity, both of which she certainly needs as the story unfolds.
This is the first of three books. I've read them all avidly and can't recommend them highly enough.
They are well written and challenge on the issues of prejudice, slavery and cruelty.