The rebellious son of a long line of pureblood cartographers and diviners, Valen has spent most of his life trying to escape what society - and his family - have ordained for him. His own mother has predicted that he will meet his doom in water, blood, and ice. Her divination seems fulfilled when a comrade abandons Valen in a rainy wilderness half-dead, addicted to an enchantment that converts pain to pleasure, and possessing only a stolen book of maps.
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Everyone in Navronne seems to be after Valen. There is the fanatical Harrower priestess, Sila Diaglou, who wants to raze the kingdom. The Bastard Prince Osriel, who steals dead men's eyes. And the Pureblood Registry, determined to keep every pureblood sorcerer in thrall. Even beings out of myth, the Danae guardians, whose dancing nurtures the Earth and whose attention could prove the most costly of all. As Navronne sinks deeper into civil war and perilous winter, Valen finds himself a bargaining chip in a deadly standoff.