The discovery of a strange and superior warship sends Dion, youngest son of the king of Xanthos, and Chloe, a Phalesian princess, on a journey across the sea, where they are confronted by a kingdom far more powerful than they could ever have imagined. But they also find a place in turmoil, for the ruthless sun king, Solon, is dying. In order to gain entrance to heaven, Solon is building a tomb - a pyramid clad in gold - and has scoured his own empire for gold until there's no more to be found.
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Chloe's quest to escape the Oracle's prophecy leads her to a magus with a secret: the eldren are not the only race to use magic in warfare. An ancient power is rediscovered, and a forgotten people will return. Meanwhile, cursed by his birth, Dion tries to forge a new life at sea, away from both the eldren and his former life in Xanthos, but the one thing he can't leave behind is his heritage.