'"I put out a hand to steady myself as the vision took me. The parquetry floor washed to black ... As if sparked by the hard glare, a fire burst and raged through the room, the flames hot enough to crisp bones and raise the smell of marrow burning to cinders. And me in the middle, wrapped in the black shroud of the dead."
'Matilde of the House of Svanaten is tired of being shadow queen. Her accession to the Turasi throne is long overdue, yet her imperious grandmother, Beata, is reluctant to hand over power.
'When Matilde's mysterious aunt, Helena, turns up for Turassi's most important festival, suspicions abound. Why has Helena - long married into the despised Ilthean nobility - suddenly appeared? And what of the Ilthean soldiers massed at the southern border?
'Hard on Helena's arrival, Matilde is struck by a vision that warns of doom. And it isn't long before a powerful enemy strikes at the very heart of power, leaving a trail of death and destruction in his wake.
'After narrowly surviving the conflagration that shatters her entire world, Matilde is forced to pit herself against her family's conqueror in a battle not just for the throne, but for her very existence.' (Publisher's blurb)