Victoria Goddard’s 2018 The Hands of the Emperor is a secondary universe fantasy set in Goddard’s Nine Worlds.
Cliopher Mdang — Kip to his extended family — is the personal secretary to a semi-divine figure who is known by titles such as the Lord of Rising Stars, the Lord Magus of Zunidh, and the Sun-on-Earth. The title most relevant to this narrative is Last Emperor of Astandalas.
Spanning five of the Nine Worlds, the Empire of Astandalas is a vast, awe-inspiring state, ruled by a succession of emperors, each of whom is a god in human flesh. Or rather, the Empire was. Prior to the books’ beginning, various unpleasant events culminated in the fall of the Empire. Now the emperor (and by right of his humble-sounding office, Cliopher) governs what cohered after the fall.
Aware that his underling works devotedly and hard, the emperor is gracious enough to grant Cliopher periodic holidays, which he uses to visit his family far across the Wide Seas. During one such holiday, Cliopher is inspired to make a proposition to his boss that will change their world.