Kallista, now Reinine of all Adara, still has demons to seek out. She and her family journey south to her mate Obed's homeland in pursuit of the demon who absconded six years previously with Kallista's temple-bound ilian, Merinda, and her child. But when one of the godmarked dies, Kallista is devastated and her mates must cope without her. A trial by combat is needed to regain custody of a child and a new ninth godmarked must be located in order to make the magic whole again and powerful enough to defeat a truly formidable demon. But Kallista needs more than magic to heal her.
The Rose Trilogy ends (after The Barbed Rose) in an uneasy blend of magic and eroticism bound to repel some readers and fascinate others. Kallista Varyl Reinine is Godstruck Naitan of the One, Ruler of all Adara, and head of a household of her ten magic-linked mates and their nine children. Group lovemaking with multiple partners within a family unit is considered immoral by some countries but "in Adara, any family based on fewer than four individuals bound in temple vows was considered crippled." Kallista must face this prejudice when she journeys to far-off Daryath with her family to recover Merinda, a lost loved one, and her son Sky, who have both been enslaved by the demon Khoriseth. When one of Kallista's partners is killed, the mission to save Merinda's son becomes even more dangerous and urgent. Dayton tries hard to give readers insight into Kallista and her crew as they use magical multiple partner sex and magical battles to solve significant problems-freeing slaves and conquering demons-but she never quite succeeds.