Magery is failing, the war has been lost and Hightspall has fallen. The Cythonian enemy, led by their reincarnated sorcerer-king, Lyf, are determined to wipe it off the map and build their ancient realm of Cythe anew. Rix, now known as Deadhand, was once heir to the greatest fortune in all Hightspall. Now he's disgraced, dispossessed and is running for his life. Rix is determined to redeem himself and save his beloved country, but an obsession with his brutal ancestor Axil Grandys, the legendary founder of Hightspall, is leading him on a one-way path to catastrophe. Tali, an escaped slave who bears the master pearl within her, is held captive by the embittered chancellor of Hightspall so he can rob her of her healing blood. But when she discovers that her enslaved people face genocide at the hands of the enemy, Tali conceives a desperate, impossible plan. To sneak into the enemy's underground city of Cython, the most heavily guarded place in all the land, rouse the slaves to rebellion and use her master pearl to attack the enemy from within.But before she can hope to save her people, Tali has to confront her own darkest fear – a return to slavery.