Esmeralda is alone in the world. She goes about barefoot and in rags as her village labels her a witch and the village tanner wants to kill her. When the horn sounds, all the unwed women must go out to meet the approaching barbarians. Her only hope is to be chosen in The Culling. But could that be an end worse than death?
The king went into hiding years ago. The kingdom is weak and at the mercy of raiders. Faith is used as a weapon against the weak and outcast. What could one woman do that would make any difference?
Tiobald has put off making a selection as long as he can, but as he walks the line of simpering quaking girls and women, Esmeralda's jewel-toned green eyes hold his gaze unwavering—daring him to choose her. He does as she boldly accepts
With that one word Esmeralda has sealed her fate, set the destiny of his village, and changed the course of the entire kingdom.