The Empire faces threats from all sides - an army of vengeful constructs, islands sinking into the sea, greedy politicians, the mysterious and all-powerful Alangra, and a brand new Emperor trying to hold it all together. What can Lin do in the face of all this, having denounced bone shard magic and with only an unreliable ex-smuggler and a mysterious magical creature by her side?
For decades, the emperor has reigned with the help of his constructs, created with bone shard magic, tasked to keep the citizens in line and, should the need arise, to protect the islands from the return of the Alanga. More and more, however, people have been questioning whether this protection is worth the cost and what the emperor has been up to hiding away in his palace since the death of his wife. Lin, the emperor’s daughter, has many of the same questions, as she strives to prove to her father that she’s worthy to be his heir and learn his secrets. In further reaches of the empire, the smuggler Jovis is on the run and searching for his missing wife, while Ranami attempts to recruit her girlfriend, Phalue, to a rebellion against her own father, the governor of Nephilanu Island.