After Alshari Court Wizard Pentandra survives her third assassination attempt in the Tower of Sorcery, she sends her deputy, Sir Rondal, to investigate the mysterious origins of the attempt while she contends with Alshari court politics. Life is strained for her, as she tries to raise her triplet daughters while her husband is away. For Rondal’s part, his investigations include his precocious fiancée, Gatina, Kitten of Night, and learning how to manage his new relationship. Matters come to a head when he and Kitten rescue an old woman and her grandson from certain death . . . only to discover she is the lost hedgewitch who gave Pentandra a book of secret prophecies about the future.
The tension rising in southern Alshar seems to break when the Duke and Duchess announce the relocation of the court to the summer capital of Vorone for a season. Pentandra intends to relax and manage her lands for the summer, safely away from assassins and undead. But then her friend and liege, Minalan the Spellmonger, announces that he’s taking the summer off, too, dumping the responsibilities for leadership on her overburdened shoulders while he journeys on an expedition of exploration. What could possibly go awry?
Within days of the Spellmonger leaving, the Kingdom is plunged into a civil war between the knights of the kingdom, led by Prince Tavard, and the nascent power of the magi, led by Viscount Terleman. As the battles play out in rapid-fire fashion across Gilmora and the Wilderlands, Pentandra increasingly finds herself losing control of the situation. Knowing prophecies that concern the matter don’t seem to help her one bit – indeed, they cloud and confuse issues as she helplessly watches the kingdom she’s worked so hard for descend into a contest between the new powers and the old. Worse, the Duchy of Merwyn has decided to invade Remere, while the pirate stronghold in Farise has begun raiding the kingdom’s shipping with magic and the Nemovort Karakush plots in the Westlands. To top it off, unbeknownst to her Rondal, her trusted deputy, secretly interferes in kingdom politics in ways that could have repercussions for generations.
Not even the return of the Spellmonger from his expedition is much help, as Minalan was changed by the experience in ways that disturb both Pentandra and Rondal. Though he’s able to cool the hot heads who are fighting for the future of the kingdom, a new menace arises where they least expect it: the great fortress of Darkfaller, near the center of the kingdom, is unexpectedly taken by the Nemovorti, powerful undead who have sworn to see humanity defeated. And they are led by an undeniably evil soul with a disturbingly familiar face . . .
Pentandra and Rondal feel things are spiraling out of control. Minalan’s return has brought some peace, but it doesn’t last as the new enemy makes an unexpected strike at the heart of the magi. The only hope for relief and the future of the kingdom now seems to lie in the wrinkled hands of a very old, very wise hedgewitch!
Release date: February 1, 2022
Print pages: 737
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