After years of struggle and sacrifice, Falcio val Mond, First Cantor of the Greatcoats, is on the brink of fulfilling his dead King's dream: Aline, the King's daughter, is about to take the throne and restore the rule of law once and for all.
But for the Greatcoats, nothing is ever that simple. In the neighbouring country of Avares, an enigmatic new warlord is uniting the barbarian armies which have long plagued Tristia's borders - and even worse, he is rumoured to have a new ally: Trin, who's twice tried to kill Aline to take the throne for herself. With the armies of Avares at her back, she'll be unstoppable.
Falcio, Kest and Brasti race north to stop her, but in those cold and treacherous climes they discover something altogether different, and far more dangerous: a new player is planning to take the throne of Tristia, and the Greatcoats, for all their skill, may not be able to stop him.
As the nobles of Tristia and even the Greatcoats themselves fight over who should rule, the Warlord of Avares threatens to invade. It is going to fall to Falcio to render the one verdict he cannot bring himself to decide: does he crown the girl he vowed to put on the throne, or uphold the laws he swore to serve?