The story picks back up at this point. More information is learned. Secrets are revealed. Alliances are explored. Treachery is considered is considered and performed. And new knowledge is revealed, making everything that much more complicated.
Don't ask me to explain all the twists and turns. They were complicated before this book began and even more complicated afterwards.
I think that this section held together better than the previous book, but in no way does this feel like a stand alone story. The job of this book is to end the beginning and begin the ending, which it does quite sufficiently.