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The lost land of the Aoi has returned to the earth from which it was cast forth millennia ago. And though the battle for survival must be the primary focus, there are always those eager to seize power. Though King Henry demanded that Prince Sanglant accept his crown, many may refuse to honor the dying king's wish. Liath, Sanglant's wife, has been excommunicated and unless he agrees to put her aside, his own aunt, Mother Scholastica, is threatening to interdict Sanglant. And though he and Liath long to search for their missing daughter, the demands of statecraft hold them hostage to Sanglant's court. Henry's wife is determined to regain control of their empire. But she has let Antonia proclaim herself the new skopos. And Antonia has already proved herself a dangerous ally. The Aoi are divided between those who seek to rebuild and warriors determined to claim revenge against the humans. Stronghand, too, is consolidating his gains for his empire, drawn in part by the bond he still shares with Alain. And even as Liath seeks out the forbidden magic that could bring back the light of day, new alliances are forming and old ones being abandoned. Only time will tell who will emerge triumphant.