As an exile studying the healing arts in a foreign land, Alswyn hides the details of her troubled past and the true reason she was banished from her homeland.
But when the king's foreign bride falls prey to a mysterious illness, Alswyn must face the man who ordered her exile and use her knowledge of dark magic to catch a sorcerer before the countryside is plunged back into a bitter war.
When King Ghalad goes missing, the peace treaty balances on a sword edge as his enemies threaten to take over the kingdom. Alswyn does not accept the theory that the King is a coward, especially when she discovers the remains of ash sorcery in his chambers.
To bring the King home and avert war, Alswyn must travel to the formidable Plains of Dera, where the goddess of ash magic rules. The rescue mission gets complicated when she runs afoul of Cynet, her former betrothed, and the goddess Dera herself.
They will both do anything to ensnare Alswyn once more in ash magic.
A mysterious illness threatens the lives of Alswyn's friends and associates in the cloistered sanctuary that has been her home for nearly a year. When one of the victims dies, the abbot places the sanctuary under quarantine.
But there is no stopping the disease, especially when victims begin to morph into vaylah, bird-like servants of the evil goddess Dera.
Those left alive blame Alswyn for the sanctuary's ruin, and she must overcome her religious aversions in order to enter the holiest shrine, where answers await.
Will her submission to the gods prove enough to save those she loves?
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