The King's Rider Justin has been dispatched to watch any suspicious activity at the convent that houses the fanatical Daughters of the Pale Mother. Worshippers of the moon goddess, they believe that all magic-wielding mystics are evil. Yet, in their midst, a young novice named Ellynor possesses the gift of healing and the ability to move through the night unobserved. Assuming the guise of a stablehand, Justin befriends Ellynor - and love blossoms between them. And when he discovers her magical talents, Justin will risk everything - his own secret, the trust of his friends, even his very life - in order to save her...
In Shinn's intrigue-filled third Twelve Houses fantasy (after The Thirteenth House and Mystic and Rider), Justin, one of the elite King's Riders who serve King Baryn of Gillengaria, finds plenty to be concerned about after going undercover as a stableman to learn about threats to Baryn's rule. Noblewoman Coralinda Gisseltess, head of the Lumanen Convent of the Daughters of the Pale Mother (a moon goddess), has begun her own campaign against mystics, preaching that their magic is an abomination to the goddess. Then Justin meets Ellynor Alowa of Lirren, a young novice from the convent, and loses his heart to her. Things get complicated when Ellynor is denounced as a mystic because of her healing abilities. Rescuing Ellynor from being burned at the stake won't be easy, but if Justin succeeds, he'll then have to deal with the taboo against Lirren women marrying outside their clans. Once again Shinn expertly mixes romance with traditional fantasy for a satisfying read.