Wyl Thirsk, former general of the Morgravian army and bearer of the curse known as Myrren's gift, is running out of time. Marriage between his beloved Queen Valentyna and his sworn enemy, the despotic King Celimus, is imminent; yet, despite the impending nuptials, war looms between the two nations, while the threat from the Mountain Kingdom grows stronger. Trapped in a body not his own, with his friends and supporters scattered throughout the realm, Wyl is as desperate to prevent the wedding as he is to end Myrren's "gift" -- a magic that will cease only when he assumes the throne of Morgravia.
Clinging to an ominous suggestion from his young friend Fynch, an increasingly powerful mage, Wyl must walk his most dangerous path yet -- straight into the brutal clutches of Celimus in a desperate attempt to save his nation, his love, and himself.
In McIntosh's enjoyable conclusion to her Quickening fantasy trilogy (after Myrren's Gift and Blood and Memory), Wyl Thirsk continues to bravely labor under the "gift" bestowed on him by the witch Myrren at her death, a spell that forces his spirit to inhabit the body of anyone who murders him. Wyl, though hobbled by occupying the body of his dear sister, Ylena, doggedly pursues his quest to kill Celimus, the despotic king of Morgravia, as well as to foil the marriage plans Celimus has for Queen Valentyna of Briavel. Meanwhile, Elysius, Myrren's father, has charged the boy Fynch, "so humble and yet so wise," with destroying the evil magician Rashlyn. Despite a few rough spots where common sense doesn't prevail, McIntosh has taken the notion of body snatching, given it a fresh twist and come up with a winner.