This book starts off with an experienced assassin without morals or care of almost anyone. He is stuck on a ship in a cold sea, unable to escape the sailors who turned against him. He was then given to a king who magically bound him to protect his younger son, a very idealistic man.
And that's when the adventure begins, and the author shows (and does a good job at not telling) how the assassin's ruthlessness gets tempered with loyalty, and the prince gets some worldly wisdom as well.
I thought this was a great book because the main character wasn't stupid. He was always paranoid and on the alert, and he didn't miss much. Sometimes he was at a disadvantage to sorcerers, but was able to get out of the trouble.
And there was a bit of romance, but it played a very minor role and seemed much more realistic than I often find in urban fantasy or books with love triangles.
And I love the poem.