A kingdom on the eve of war. A queen held captive. A land in turmoil. A shape-changer's heart. Suchen's life as Steward of Kellsjard is a good one, if uneventful. But the arrival of the exiled wizard Ax threatens to upset her quiet existence. The task he sets for her seems simple on the surface: escort Trethya, a young noblewoman, from the southern reaches of the kingdom back to the safety of Kellsjard's walls. Soon, however, Suchen and her companions-five warriors Sworn to the service of her lord-discover that the fate of the entire kingdom depends on keeping Trethya alive. For only Trethya is privy to a deadly secret: Rozah, Queen of Jenel, is held captive by her regency council. If she is not freed, the treacherous Council will force her into a marriage with a necromancer intent on making Jenel his own. Pursued by enemies, attacked by shape-changers, and threatened by hidden traitors, their path seems doomed to end in death. But into this mix comes an unlikely ally: Yozerf Jonaglir, scion of the non-human Aclytese race, heir to a forgotten throne. Haughty, bitter, and haunted by the darkness of his past, Yozerf at first seems the antithesis of everything Suchen has ever known. Yet from the first, she finds herself drawn to this wild stranger, finding in him an answer to the longings of her own heart. But is Yozerf the friend he seems to be-or will the dark secrets he hides ultimately destroy them all?