John Hornor Jacobs has worked in advertising for the last fifteen years. He is also a novelist. His works include Southern Gods, This Dark Earth, The Incorruptibles, and the young adult series, The Twelve Fingered Boy Trilogy. He is the co-founder of Needle: A Magazine of Noir.
Rume is under attck. The Autumn Lords, rulers of the Tchinee empire, have had their true nature revealed. The Emperor descends into madness. And Fisk and Shoe - unlikely heroes, very likely mercenaries - must find their way to Fisk's wife and child, who he has never seen.
There might be quite a lot in their way. A war, for one thing. But Livia is as determined as Fisk to be reunited. And Shoe may have a plan...
In the boat the drunk governor of the territories and his sons and daughters make merry. They believe that their status makes them untouchable. They are wrong. And with them is a mysterious, beautiful young woman, who is the key to peace between warring nations and survival for the Empire. When a callow mercenary saves the life of the Governor on an ill-fated hunting party, the two groups are thrown together.
For Fisk and Shoe - two tough, honourable mercenaries surrounded by corruption, who know they can always and only rely on each other - their young companion appears to be playing with fire. The nobles have the power, and crossing them is always risky.
And although love is a wonderful thing, sometimes the best decision is to walk away. Because no matter how untouchable or deadly you may be, the stretchers have other plans.
Fisk and Shoe - mercenaries, very much not wanting to get caught in the middle of a political whirlwind - must deliver a very important message, and find a very dangerous man. They have caught the eye of the powerful men of the world, and now the stakes are higher than they like.
And the Emperor has decreed that Livia Cornelius, pregnant with Fisk's child, must travel to the far lands of the Autumn Lords on a diplomatic mission. It will mean crossing half the world, and facing new dangers. And in the end, she will uncover the shocking truth at the heart of the Autumn Lords' Empire.
A truth which will make the petty politics of war and peace unimportant, and will change the world.