If you’ve read The Thief, Gen won’t have you fooled in this book, but it sort of doesn’t matter because the point of view character is Costis, a young soldier in the ranks of Attolia’s guard, and he is completely taken in by Gen. As are most Attolians. It’s a joy to watch Gen fooling the characters around him in just the way the reader is fooled when reading The Thief — and to try and keep up with the way he’s thinking, why he’s doing what he’s doing, etc.
It doesn’t gloss over the problems inherent in the situation: the difficult relationship between Irene and Gen, the difficulty of getting her Attolian subjects to accept him, Gen’s continuing issues with being so closely watched over by the God of Thieves… It keeps all the balls in motion, hinting at the further difficulties that will arise as Gen really becomes Attolia’s king, while delivering a more or less satisfying storyline for Costis as well. He’s a bit bland (not to mention easily fooled, at least from the reader’s point of view, and not that perceptive), but his growing loyalty to Gen works well.
Pacing-wise, I think this might be the most successful so far, but I don’t have recent enough memories of The Thief to be sure. But really, I just enjoy the heck out of Gen making his own way through life, and darn how Eddis or Attolia or the gods think he should go about it.