My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Starting with an intriguing alternate history premise (a comet impact in the 19th century instigates the British empire to relocate to the Raj. By 2030, this Indian-English empire is the seat of world power) Sterling has created a fascinating commentary on culture and assimilation, both how invading cultures assimilate the locals and vice versa.
But all of that is subtext. The real meat of the story is an old fashioned swashbuckling adventure tale, with able swordsmen, ruthless villains, cutthroats, camels and zeppelins. What more could you ask for?