One bitter Midwinter's Eve, everything changes when Bridei finds a child on their doorstep - a child abandoned by the Fair Folk. It is the height of ill fortune to have truck with the Fair Folk, and all in the area counsel the babe's death. But Bridei sees an old and precious magic at work and, heedless of the danger, fights to save the child. Broichan is wary but relents, for Bridei must grow to be his own man and make his own decisions.
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Five winters have passed since young king Bridei ascended the throne of Fortriu. Five years, in which the people have felt a contentment unknown for generations. But the security of a people can vanish in a heartbeat, for wolves are often drawn to fields filled with fattened sheep. Bridei is determined to drive the Gaelic invaders from his lands once and for all. And so, with his land secure and his house in order, he prepares for war. One of Bridei's plans to win the war to come involves the beautiful young Ana. A princess of the Light Isles, she has dwelt as a hostage at the court of Fortriu for most of her young life.
King Bridei is a man with a mission. His wish to unite his kingdom seems almost within his grasp but there are forces working to undo his dream. He sends Faolan, his most trusted advisor (who is also a master assassin and spymaster) out into the world to ferret out the truth of who is friend and who is foe. Along the way Faolan will uncover many truths. Some may hold the key to Bridei's future. But more important, they may unlock the secrets that Faolan has held deep within his soul for decades. And offer him the chance of redemption.