Princess Corene has run away from home to the royal court of Malinqua, where the empress's three nephews are vying to be named her heir. Two other foreign princesses have also come to the palace, hoping to marry the man chosen to be the next ruler of Malinqua. What the nephews don't know is the identity of the man who accompanies Corene: the empress's legitimate grandson, born long after everyone believed his mother was dead. What Corene doesn't know is the real reason the empress is gathering foreign princesses to her court-and how much that puts all of them in danger. Corene finds herself making friends in unexpected places and relying more and more on her faithful guard Foley. Because Foley is the only person who would die before allowing harm to come to Corene...