Long ago, the wizards of Valana delved into powerful magic that was beyond their control. The resulting devastation drove survivors high into the mountains, where they live in walled cities, isolated from the blighted lands below. Magic has become a lost art, outlawed among the nine cities of Valana. But what happens when a young noble in Avondale named Tiberius discovers a portion of an ancient book, The Essence Of Magic? All his life he has been told what to do, how to behave, what he will become, and what his place in the family will be. Can he risk everything to follow his dream?
Lady Olyva has come from Hamill Keep on a floating airship to marry Brutas, Tiberius' older brother, but in her time of waiting before the marriage, she secretly falls in love with Rafe, son of the fabled sword master Grentz. Their affair is tantamount to treason, but their passion will not be denied.
Avondale is a beautiful city, but like all places where people dwell, there is a darker side. Lexi is an orphan, no longer a girl but not yet a woman, struggling to survive in the rough, underbelly of the city far from the Earl's palace. She is smart, with a bevy of skills not considered honorable, but to a girl fighting for her place in the world, it is those very skills that will mean the difference between life and death.
Soon the lives of these four people will intersect in a way that changes everything and sends them on a journey toward redemption, or perhaps someplace darker.