The story in this book was not "full of intrigue and royal plots and counter-plots" as it says on the back cover. In fact I found it a bit dull, it just didn't seem to lead anywhere. I think I would have found this book very disappointing if the author hadn't done such a fantastic job of bringing the historical setting to life. The wonderful descriptions of the frost fair on the Thames and of the party at the Royal Court meant that I really enjoyed the book despite what was, in my opinion, a poor plotline.
This is the second book to At the House of the Magician. I haven't read the first book so I didn't get some references in this book to the first book. But it does work as a stand-alone book. I would definitely check out more by Mary Hooper because she's very good at bringing history alive.