This remarkable first novel from an award-winning short fiction writer will take readers away to a new world - an Earth so far in the distant future that our time is not even a memory; a world where magick is commonplace and great areas of the planet are impassable wastes. But human nature hasn't changed through the ages: War and faith and love still move princes and nations.
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It is nine months after the end of Lamentation. Many noble allies have come to the Ninefold Forest for a Feast in honor of General Rudolfo's first-born child. Jin Li Tam, his wife and mother of his heir, lies in childbed. As the feast begins, the doors of the hall fly open and invisible assassins begin attacking. All of Rudolfo's noble guests are slain, including Hanric, the Marsh Queen's Shadow. And on the Keeper's Gate, which guards the Named Lands from the Churning Waste, a strange figure appears.
Who is the Crimson Empress, and what does her conquest of the Named Lands really mean? Who holds the keys to the Moon Wizard's Tower? The plots within plots are expanding as the characters seek their way out of the maze of intrigue. The world is expanding as they discover lands beyond their previous carefully controlled knowledge. Hidden truths reveal even deeper truths, and nothing is as it seemed to be.