Since fleeing Winternest to avoid King Hablet's wrath when he discovers the truth about her parentage, leaving her slave, Charisee, to take her place, Rakaia has been on quite an adventure. She has met the demon child, traveled the continent with the charming minstrel, Mica the Magnificent, enjoying more freedom then she ever imagined trapped in the harem in Talabar. But her freedom has come at a cost. Mica has committed an unthinkable crime, worse even, than stealing the golden lyre, and she is now his unwilling accomplice, sailing the high seas on a Tri-lander pirate ship, doing everything she can to avoid upsetting the man she once thought she loved, but has now realized is quite insane. Meanwhile, Charisee, still pretending to be Rakaia, is trying to make the best of her new life as the Lady of Highcastle. But Rakaia's past will catch up with her, even as her own lies are in danger of being exposed. As Adrina struggles to hold Hythria together, and Marla tries to deal with the fallout from the shocking events that take place in the Citadel during the treaty negotiations, Wrayan Lightfinger and the apprentice sorcerer, Julika Hawksword, must travel to Sanctuary to find out why the fortress is back. What they will discover is shocking and will affect the entire world, even though they don't realize it.
It is eight years since Marla Wolfblade buried her second husband. In that time, she has become the power behind Hythria's throne -- as much from a desire to control her own destiny in any way she can, as to protect her son, young Damin.
But while Marla plays the games of politics and diplomacy, the High Arrion of the Sorcerers' Collective is plotting to destroy her -- and the entire Wolfblade line.
And while Marla's power and fortune are great, they may yet not be enough to protect herself and her family from the High Arrion's wrath -- and her only ally and confidant, Elezaar the Fool, is toying with the idea of betrayal.
For he has discovered that the infamous Rules of Gaining and Wielding Power are not so useful when his own family is involved...
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