I finally got around to reading this. I thought this was probably the best written of the 3 novels, but I still feel the 2nd is the most entertaining and best story. Not much of this novel actually involved adventuring in the far west of Orlais as I originally expected, but when it did that region was every bit as bleak as I expected - bleaker actually. The base level of protagonists featured in the previous novels had steadily increased and this was no exception. In this story they're all high level characters and very accomplished; in fact they'd be considered maxed by the standards of the PnP.
This book was also by far the most politically themed of the 3. Suffice it to say, if you want to get a firm understanding of the politics and inner workings of the Circle of Mages, this book will be of great interest to you. There was nothing newer in that regard then what's in PnP, but it was very intersting to see the machinations of the Mage fraternities and the Templars played out in real drama. This book also features the return of some veteran characters from the 1st videogame and the 2nd novel; albeit there small cameos for most of them. The best thing about this book is that it had, unlike the 1st 2, a very strong ending. In fact its a real cliffhanger that if they carry the story line through to the next game or novel, Thedas is going to be shakeing and quakeing!