I read this book about 9-Feb-2012. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1996. This note was last modified Tuesday, 21-Feb-2012 14:35:06 PST.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
The Orca are the mercantile and thug house; I'm sure that's not an accident. The Jhereg are the aristocracy of crime, but lots of the thugs are Orca. Also bankers. And seamen.
This story is about unwinding a major financial collapse, caused by one Orca getting in too deep. Vlad cares because what the woman who is treating Savn really wants is to stay in the house she's lived in most of her life. This is kind of the opposite of the kind of loose cannon behavior Vlad exhibits in for example Dragon.
This was written after the savings and loan crisis, but before the big financial crisis of 2008. Many of the things in it seem to apply as well to the current one as to the previous one, though—greedy people, mostly.
Extra spoiler warning! This is arguably THE big spoiler in the entire series at least so far. This note is flagged as having spoilers, but this is an extra special case, and I'm warning you, you probably really don't want to know this out of sequence.
Kiera shows up in to help out, and in fact the book is told half from her point of view (alternating with Vlad). We eventually find that Vlad has figured out Kiera is really Sethra Lavode. And that Kiera has realized he has done so. I think Vlad is slightly concerned that he might be a dead man; he's friends with both of them, but this might be something too big to let go. There's certainly no doubt of Sethra's ability to kill him if she wanted. However, all works out okay. Vlad will of course keep his mouth shut about this.