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Painter is a leo – part man, part lion – the result of one of man’s genetic experiments, a powerful, beautiful, enigmatic creature deemed a ‘failure’ to be be hunted down. But Painter has two advantages in this world of small bickering nation states and political accommodation and compromise: his own strength and integrity, and the guile of Reynard, another of man’s experiments, a subtle and potent intriguer, a king-maker . . .