Early 20th-century in what I think is a Ruritanian country undergoing a revolution -- at first I thought it was the Spanish Civil War, but details don't match. Esteya, a schoolgirl in a repressive monarchy, falls in love with Skizi, a Zikindi (faux-gypsy) girl; sheltered initially by bourgeois antecedents and later by her brother's post-revolution position in the Communist Party, Esteya is slow to see the danger she and the people around her are in.
This shares many of the themes and tropes of Collins' earlier books -- people do terrible things to each other initially out of ignorance and later out of willful obliviousness and a desire for vengeance, the protagonist not excepted. In this case, the protagonist's tunnel vision feels too symptomatic of the narrative as a whole, even if the narrative criticizes it; while we see both the repressiveness that caused the revolution and the revolution's brutality toward outcasts, these are subordinated to a personal story in a balance that doesn't feel quite right to me. Maybe it's because Esteya's so determinedly apolitical, or maybe it's because the details of the country feel too insubstantial? Not sure. Both Esteya and Skizi feel weirdly isolated from their environments.