Anne de Vernase rejoices that she has no talent for magic. Her father's pursuit of depraved sorcery has left her family in ruins, and he remains at large, convicted of treason and murder by Anne's own testimony. Now the tutors at Collegia Seravain inform her that her gifted younger sister has died in a magical accident. It seems but life's final mockery that cool, distant Portier de Savin-Duplais, the librarian turned royal prosecutor, arrives with the news that the king intends to barter her hand in marriage. Anne quickly recognizes that the summoning carries implications far beyond a bleak personal future. Merona, the royal city, is beset by plagues of rats and birds and mysterious sinkholes that swallow light and collapse buildings. Whispers of hauntings and illicit necromancy swirl about Dante, the queen's volatile sorcerer. And a murder in the queen's inner circle convinces Anne that her sister's death wasn't accidental. Unable to trust anyone, Anne, who is devoted to science and reason, must take on her sister's magical legacy to discover the truth, and thrust herself into a centuries-old struggle that could forever alter the boundaries of magic, nature, and the divine.--From book cover.