Dara Ruminor takes her new position as a castle guard for the King of Vertigon very seriously. She refuses to allow her feelings for Siv to get in the way of atoning for her parents' actions, no matter how hard it is to keep her distance. But she's keeping secrets from her king-and the one involving a fiery newfound ability is getting harder to hide. When Sivarrion Amintelle ascends the throne of Vertigon, he's condemned to the drudgery of council meetings, strategic marriages, and the maneuverings of ambitious noblemen. There aren't nearly enough sharp, pointy objects involved, and a certain swordswoman still makes him want to sneak away from his duties at every opportunity. But the Peace of Vertigon is over, and unknown foes conspire to end Siv's reign before it truly begins. As their enemies' plots grow more complicated, Dara and Siv will have to enlist help from an unlikely source. But if her secrets get out, Dara will have even bigger problems. And Siv might decide not to trust her after all.