Abramm Kalladorne has returned to Kiriath to claim the crown he thought he would never wear and to prepare his people for the inevitable attack of the Armies of the Black Moon. Though fiercely opposed by his own kin and reluctant to thrust his country into civil war at the worst possible time, he nevertheless believes this course of action is Kiriath’s only hope of salvation.
In the midst of this turmoil, a headstrong princess from a neighboring realm endeavors to uncover Abramm’s secrets—including his heroic exploits as the White Pretender and the fact that he wears a golden shield upon his chest—and her interference threatens to destroy any chance he has of maintaining his rightful place as king.
Against a backdrop of somber council meetings and back-alley sword fights, of magnificent ballrooms and windswept mountain fortresses, plots and counterplots unfold as old alliances dissolve and new ones form. If he is to succeed, Abramm must come to terms with his own limitation—and the sufficiency of the one who controls his destiny.