When the magesse is summoned to the Keep in the main city of the Realm, she has no choice but to leave her family and serve the Sovereign. The ruler may hail from the same steppe region as her people, yet he presides over a baffling, alien web of intrigue and scorn. Using her powers, the magesse charged with cutting through this tangle and uncovering who is scheming to overthrow him. Meanwhile, she must grapple with the unknown aims of the Sovereign's enigmatic boyhood friend, one of the Realm's subjugated Gali Lords, who keeps tabs on the rumors and whispers in the Realm--and has joys and sorrows of his own.
This sweeping, lushly detailed high fantasy series chronicles the lives of mages, people who have the gift and the curse of sensing and shaping others' thoughts. It shines a light on the nature of cultural conflict and wonder, duty and love, hierarchy and intimacy, freedom and power. This opening volume traces two complex perspectives on life in highest service, with a key mystery: Who is the mage hidden among those at the Keep and what is he hiding?