Ash has blotted the sun for months.Despair and violence have taken root across the continent of Linnea. People are searching for answers- some have turned to ancient superstitions, others to the seductive teachings of strange new cults. However, 20-year-old Arithel isn’t too concerned - she carves out a comfortable but lonely existence as a tax collector’s scribe, trying to forget the reckless decisions that led to a self-imposed exile from her village. One bleak afternoon, she accepts both a gift and a bribe, and is swept into a whirlwind of misadventure, beginning with an unspeakable tragedy befalling her pious younger sister.Arithel blames herself for her sister’s fate, and her childhood friend Fallon proposes a deal- he will help with her quest for vengeance, provided she helps him with an errand orchestrated by a mysterious, charismatic healer who dwells thousands of miles away, in the frozen Northlands. Arithel accepts Fallon’s conditions, but as they travel she becomes increasingly troubled by the extent of his devotion to his employer. The journey she and Fallon undertake tests the depth of their friendship; they encounter otherworldly perils, new companions, and shadows from their own past. The choices they make could destroy- or restore- an empire.