As Bingtown slides toward disaster, clan matriarch Ronica Vestrit, branded a traitor, searches for a way to bring the city's inhabitants together against the Chalcedean threat. Meanwhile, Althea Vestrit, unaware of what has befallen Bingtown and her family, continues her perilous quest to track down and recover her liveship Vivacia from the ruthless pirate Kennit.
Bold though it is, her scheme may be in vain. For her beloved Vivacia will face the most terrible confrontation of all as the secret of the liveships is revealed. It is a truth so shattering, it may destroy Vivacia and all who love her, including the boy-priest Wintrow Vestrit, whose life already hangs in the balance.