The warlord Garan Tamuron and his general Zakkar Kai have unified Zhaon. The crown to their conquest is the neighboring country of Khir, a dagger pointed at Zhaon’s heart—now bled white and dulled, forced to send tribute to the conqueror.
Two queens, two concubines, six princes—the palace complex is full of jostling, sly gossip, and danger. A hostage for Khir’s good behavior, the lady Komor Yala has only her wits and her hidden maiden’s blade to protect herself… and her childhood friend Princess Mahara, sacrificed in marriage to bring a tenuous peace.
The Emperor is aging, and only one of his many sons may take the throne. Whether they wish to or not, all six princes are locked in a deadly battle, and a Khir princess and lady-in-waiting are merely pawns to be used. Still, it will only take a single spark to ignite fresh rebellion in Khir. If that spark is the mistreating of their cherished princess, Yala’s beloved lady, war may be closer than a maiden’s blade itself.
And then, the Emperor becomes ill, and a far more deadly game begins…