In this latest addition to the Skolian Empire series, Asaro takes readers back a bit in time to a point when Roka Skolia has just recently married her Consort, with whom she raises her dynastic brood, many of whom have appeared as main characters in earlier (published) books.
The plot revolves around Roka’s intended husband, young prince Dayj, who, desperate for escape from the loneliness and isolation of his prison in the palace, runs away – only to disappear. His family call in a mercenary/bounty hunter type, our heroine, Baaj, who is retired from the Pharaoh’s Army – which is led by the matriarch of Dayj’s royal family, the Majdas. Told in parts, the novel follows Baaj’s search for the prince, her investigation into criminal activity in the Undercity, and the resolution of the conflict between Undercity dwellers and Above-City citizens. A smaller arc develops the romance between Baaj and her former lover, disreputable Undercity kingpin, Jak.