The realms of the Forelands are in turmoil as a result of the machinations of a powerful conspiracy of sorcerers, members of a race called the Qirsi, pale-skinned folk feared by those in power. Though many refuse to acknowledge the possibility of a conspiracy, a handful of Qirsi and nobles realize that the time has come to take action, even at the cost of their loves, their honor, and even their lives.
The rebels don't know of each other's actions, however, and the tenuous threads holding the realms together are starting to unravel. With the death of a king, nobles gather to choose a new leader, and deadly power springs from a most unexpected source. As new alliances form, former enemies become unlikely partners.
But who can be trusted in these new alliances, and who will be swayed by love, jealousy, or pride to betray their new allies? For more than the future of the realm is at stake. The future of the entire Forelands is in danger, and a 900-year-old grudge may lead to civil war. Those who wish to prevent it must place their hopes in a reluctant assassin, a few Qirsi and nobles, and the one man who may be able to defeat the leader of the conspiracy...if he can survive long enough to do it.