Lois McMaster Bujold returns to the vivid, perilous world of her previous masterworks, the Hugo Award-winning Paladin of Souls and Hugo and World Fantasy Award-nominated The Curse of Chalion, with this tale of devotion and strange destiny. The half-mad Prince Boleso has been slain by a noblewoman he had intended to defile. It falls to Lord Ingrey kin Wilfcliff to transport the prince to his burial place and to bring the accused killer, Lady Ijada, to judgment. His mission is an ugly and delicate one, for the imminent death of the old Hallow King has placed the crown in play, and the road he travels with his burden and his prisoner is fraught with danger. But in the midst of political chaos, magic has the fiercer hold on Ingrey's destiny, and Ijada herself may turn out to be the only one he dares trust.