"You cannot sculpt a piece into a Player. A Player must mold himself out of fortitude and conviction." (Bjorn van Gelderan)
After the events the first three books in Melissa McPhail's award-winning epic fantasy series, A Pattern of Shadow and Light, the realm of Alorin remains unbalanced. The Fifth Vestal, Bjorn van Gelderan, has cast his Players on the field. Now they must hold their positions against Malorin'athgul as well as their immortal allies.
In Kandori...Prince Ean val Lorian is bound to Bjorn van Gelderan's game and to his sister Isabel, but Ean would rather be free of both of them. Yet he fears the game won't let him - nor will the man he used to be. Chained by guilt on one side and duty on the other, Ean chases memories through three kingdoms in an attempt to become a Player on his own terms.
In Hallovia...Tanis of Adonnai has discovered his true identity and his nature as an Adept of four strands. He's bound himself to the Malorin'athgul Pelas and in turn bound Pelas to his uncle Bjorn van Gelderan's game. But will Pelas' ability to bend Fate to his will be enough to oppose the intentions of his brothers, Darshan and Shail? And will Pelas be able to keep Tanis safe from the immortal Warlock Sinarr, who vowed to go to any lengths to make Tanis his concubine?
At the First Lord's sa'reyth...Prince Trell val Lorian has been rescued from the island of Darroyhan and the mor'alir Adept Taliah hal'Jaitar and is recovering at the First Lord's sanctuary. But while Trell is enjoying an overdue reunion with his betrothed, Alyneri, he suspects he cannot long remain off the field. If the game doesn't summon him back, his conscience will, for he owes his life to too many others. Primary among these is the Water Goddess Naiadithine. Trell can't help but wonder what the goddess will require of him in return for Her many graces...and if it will be a price he's willing to pay.
As Bjorn's game intensifies and wars escalate, those serving the Fifth Vestal must mold themselves into more than mere Players. They must become his Kingdom Blades.
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