The City of Talis is a fragile beacon of civilization on the edge of the Faerie Lands. Beyond lies a wilder world of dark enchantments and terrible wonders, but behind the city walls humans and faeries live together in uneasy peace--until an explosion rocks the city and long-smoldering tensions threaten to ignite. As the Commandant of Police, Baron Hessing has maintained stability for decades. But with a murderer on the loose, an anarchist bombing the city, and rumors of a faërie uprising, he is starting to lose control. Hessing finds himself caught in a web of interlocking conspiracies and he may need to choose between saving his city and saving his family. Into this maelstrom appears the Countess. Trained from birth for a single purpose--vengeance--suddenly she appears everywhere from secret catacombs to the halls of power. Beset by enemies on all sides, it will take all her training to succeed in a city on the brink of revolution. Plans are in motion, centuries in the making, that will change the fate of Talis forever.