...but for some reason I do. Reminds me of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks I read/played when I was younger, and also reminds me of the Thief computer games. I could do without the protagonist posing dramatically in the foreground (which detracts from the cover a little bit) but it doesn't spoil what is a visual guilty pleasure. Misty cityscape + full moon + tower + bats = WIN.
The novel itself doesn't sound too bad either:
Centuries after the death of Uthar the Great, the throne of the Ontilian Empire lies vacant. The late Emperor's brother-in-law and murderer, Lord Urdhven, appoints himself Protector to his nephew, young King Lathmar VII and sets out to kill anyone who stands between himself and mastery of the Empire, including (if he can manage it) the King himself and his ancient but still formidable ancestress, Ambrosia Viviana.
When Ambrosia is accused of witchcraft and put to trial by combat, she is forced to play her trump card and call on her brother, Morlock Ambrosius--stateless person, master of all magical makers, deadly swordsman, and hopeless drunk.
As ministers of the king, they carry on the battle, magical and mundane, against the Protector and his shadowy patron. But all their struggles will be wasted unless the young king finds the strength to rule in his own right and his own name.
I'm quite partial to a bit of political backstabbing in a murky urban environment, so I might check this out.
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