The story introduces three young people, each with a connection to a different royal family. First, we meet Sarai, a brave and smart soldier. I’m always happy to see women warriors, especially in scenes where they use their skills and training, and have the respect of the other soldiers. Her uncle is the King of Ondile, but instead of bringing her power and wealth, her connection to the throne just puts her in danger.
Prince Kylan of Nunem is having a pretty adorable romance with a barmaid, but he can’t keep pretending to be on hunting trips. He owes loyalty to his country and his family, and with international conflict coming, he can’t put it off any longer.
Because this is a three-sided conflict, the book avoids some of the clear-cut good versus evil that can plague fantasy novels. The kingdoms of Ondile, Nunem, and Veatia are locked in conflict, with some definite evil-doers but plenty of greyer motivations. This conflict is well-developed, and builds in believable ways — but be warned, the story ends with an opening for a sequel or a whole fantasy series, rather than a resolution.