Readers will instantly sense that author Wilbur Smith has first-hand knowledge of foreign settings. The rich sensory details transport one to India in colonial times: food, fabrics, cocktails, carousing, and plenty of prejudicial stupidity on the parts of the colonizing European countries. There are parts of the book that seem more geared towards a male audience; some of the male-dominance sex scene details are unnecessarily violent and remind me of the surprise I felt years ago when I read a rape scene in 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.' Although I could live without some of the detailed and crude sexual comments about women's bodies, the gender inequality of the 1700's is realistic. No matter what one's political views might be, Smith (and his "with" collaborating author) open one's eyes to the unfair practices of second-class citizenship in the mid 1700's for the people to whom the land and country belong. Connie and her brother Theo are recently-orphaned Caucasians, handed off to their older wealthy cousin, Gerard. Suspense builds almost immediately; it is very clear that others hope to pilfer Connie and Theo's inherited trustfund, and it seems that being in a foreign country (India) will make the corruption a fairly easy manner. In addition, something about Gerard will instantly make- or at least should make- a reader's skin crawl. Life isn't easy for either Connie or Theo, and Theo turned out to be a much more appealing character to me. Connie does whatever she must to survive, but at times she seemed too much like a man's idea of a female character. Overall, I felt that the book contained a basically good story which functions fine as a stand-alone book even though it is considered part of a series for this author. If there were half stars, I probably would rate this more of a three and a half instead of a four; this is my honest review in exchange for the ARC.