Arden Grenfell was a dedicated and loyal Captain of the Guard, and bodyguard to Princess Jessa -- until she allowed Jessa to escape from Glory. Since then, she has spent the last six years in jail, wondering why her death sentence for treason has yet to be carried out. But now Jessa's mother, the Seer Lyona, is dying, and the Emperor desperately needs his daughter back, to take over as Seer in her place. Arden is offered a stark choice: a full pardon if she brings Jessa back home to the living death of a Lifeweave Seer, or execution.
The premiss and unfolding story are potentially interesting, but I remained uninvolved with the various characters, and found them mostly indistinguishable. I thought the style to be rather wooden and flat, with some plot elements (such as Abbot Grayson and the monastery) unsatisfyingly underdeveloped. This seemed to be a general theme: an attempt to cram in too much plot, with depth suffering. However, I can't make my usual complaint of a boring straight-line plot: there certainly were several plot twists -- but even here, the twists seemed contrived on occasion, and the 'shock revelation' of the identity of one of the characters was telegraphed several chapters earlier. Also, I found the constant use of swords in preference to guns (present, but remaining firmly holstered most of the time) just a little unbelievable.