On the edge of a mystical border called the Limen, close to a beautiful canal-laced city, a humble candlemaker rescues a child, whom he raises as his apprentice. Years pass and the child's unusual talents are revealed, the gentle art of candlemaking slowly transforming into something far more sinister. Lingering in the shadows, enemies watch and wait - a vengeful aristocrat, an exotic queen and the lethal creatures known only as the Morte Whisperers.They hunger after the child's ancient magic.
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Tallow is anything but a simple candlemaker and when she has everything taken away from her - friends, family, hope - her survival relies on the Maleovellis. Casting aside the safety of her disguise, she becomes cold-hearted Tarlo, female courtesan and the toast of those who, if they knew her secret, would destroy her.
But the intrigues of the Serenissian nobility are nothing against the larger forces moving within the world. And Tallow's enemies have a hidden asset: the one thing they know she cannot possibly resist.
Talented candlemaker. Intoxicating courtesan. Lethal assassin. Must Tallow become what she has always denied ... or is it too late? Against a backdrop of bloodshed and turmoil, Tallow flees a city on the brink of war to enter the Limen, determined to find the Estrattore and meet her destiny. But she has already set in motion forces beyond her control, and from Serenissima to Farrowfare her enemies are moving to ensure her compliance - and ultimately, her destruction.