This imaginative book follows BLOODWINTER and SPRINGWAR in the story of the Kingdom of Eron, a winter-girt land of artisans historically opposed to the more populous southern desert kingdom of Ixti.
Peace has finally come between the two nations, along with a new king, young and inexperienced Avall, victor against Ixti and sole possessor of the magical gems taken from the mines. But as the country attempts to heal from the conflict, unrest once again grips the land, stirred up by a secret cabal of powerful priests who call themselves the Ninth Face of God.
The young king, Avall, struggles to quell the unrest and to control the boundless magic of the mysterious gems. At the same time, Avall's twin sister, Merryn must make her own arduous journey, a step ahead of those who would gladly kill her. But it is the fanatical leaders of the Ninth Face who pose the greatest danger. They have put in motion a deadly plan to drive Avall from the throne, destroy the power of the noble clans, and take possession of the gems themselves--all in the name of their unbending god. For Eron the choice is stark indeed; an imperfect and inexperienced king or the tyranny of the self-righteous.