The action of the book takes place straight after the events in Issola: you may also wish to reread Teckla to familiarise yourself with Vlad's recent history. And you will miss a few of the jokes if you have forgotten certain key elements of (I think) Orca. And while you're there, might as well read the others: I think they're all referenced one way or another ...
The book is framed by an elaborate meal at Valabar's, during which Vlad entertains a (Dzur) guest and casts some light on his current situation. Each course of the meal (and there are many) leads into another chapter of the narrative. In a sense, then, all this happens over dinner. But not really.
Vlad is still wanted by the Organisation he used to work for. The rackets he once ran are under the control of the Left Hand of the Jhereg (a.k.a. the Bitch Patrol). His ex-wife Cawti needs his help (and has an ace up her sleeve with which to persuade him). Morrolan, who does not appear in this novel, is not best pleased with Vlad. The Demon Goddess may be messing around with his memories, suppressing some and permitting others to return, newly vivid. And, oh yes, someone's trying to kill him. Business as usual, really.
There's a sense of imminence throughout the novel, the sense that something big is about to happen: and I don't think that's ever quite resolved. Vlad has come into an enormous amount of power, but he hasn't had time to adjust to it. And though he's a character whose life is enriched (not to mention saved) by his friends, they're mostly absent from this instalment. Apart from Sethra. And Kiera.
I enjoyed the novel very much, but it left me desperate to