Vadin is a squire, new to the service of Han-Ianon. His greatest wish is to serve Moranden, greatest warrior in the land and bastard son to the king. The king is old and knows he nears the end of his reign, and so day after day he stands on the battlements, hoping that his daughter will return home. Decades ago she traveled south to be a priestess, and has sent no word since.
But then a small young man in shabby priest's garb walks into the capital. He resembles the late princess and in fact, is her sole child, fathered by no less than the god Avaryan himself. The king immediately proclaims that Mirain to be his heir. Moranden has always hoped he would get the throne, and is incensed. Vadin is ordered to be Mirain's squire and watches their rivalry unfold from an intimate vantage point.
Although the characters have complex and emotional inner lives, this book is otherwise quintessentially High Fantasy. It's told in a stylized, portentous tone, and although there are no prophecies, the gods really do interfere in the lives of mortal men. In fact, this felt a bit like a Greek epic, complete with gods playing favorites, incredible feats of strength and endurance, and intense (and sometimes homoerotic) bonds between men.