The Duchess of the Shallows by Neil McGarry and Daniel Ravipinto
A game is played in the fog-shrouded city of Rodaas, and every citizen, from the nameless of the Shallows to the noblest of the Garden, is a player or a pawn. And no one is as he appears.
Not Minette, brothel-keeper and obsessive collector of secrets. Not Uncle Cornelius, fearsome chief of the gang of brutes and murderers known as the Red. Not the cults of Death, Wisdom, and Illumination, eternally scheming and plotting along the Godswalk.
And certainly not the orphaned bread girl known as Duchess.
Yet armed with nothing more than her wits, her good friend Lysander and a brass mark of dubious origin Duchess will dare to play that game for the most coveted of prizes: initiation into a secret society of thieves, spies and rumormongers who stand supreme in a city where corruption and lies are common coin.
What's queer about it? One of the authors (Neil) writes:
"The relationship between our main character, Duchess, and her gay friend Lysander is one that's seen often in real life but never in fantasy fiction, and we thought it was high time. Also, too often in fantasy the hero is male and heterosexual, with women as victims and gays are villains. In the fog-bound city of Rodaas, those who are the unlikeliest heroes are often the ones to save the day."
This book was published by the authors, who have put the first four chapters on their website here. Add your review of "The Duchess of the Shallows" in comments!