“A bold beginning to a series that explores gender, empathy, and the frozen north”--Kirkus
“A riveting saga”—Midwest Book Review
Women rule in Zem’. Krasnoslava Tsarinovna is the second-most powerful woman in Zem’. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a lot of power.
Krasnoslava (Slava to her friends, if she had any) is the younger sister to the Empress of Zem’. She lives in luxury in her sister’s kremlin, eats at her sister’s rich feasts, and sits on her sister’s council. She has everything any woman could want—except respect. Instead, she is the bearer of her family’s double-edged gifts of clairvoyance and empathy. Knowing what other people feel about you is difficult at the best of times. In the Imperial court, it’s torture.
When an adventurer comes asking for Imperial support to explore the Midnight Land, the far North where the sun never rises all winter, Slava is so desperate to leave the kremlin that she asks to come with her. To her surprise, her request is granted.
Slava’s journey is supposed to take her to the very edge of Zem’ and the Known World, and maybe help her learn more about her gifts. But as she travels North, she finds herself drawn into the center of a plot that could bring down her family. Slava would do anything to protect her family—except what the gods call upon her to do. Everyone has always considered Slava a coward. Will she learn to become a hero in order to save the people she loves?