Death is no stranger in the city of Erisín, but some deaths attract more attention than others.
When a prostitute dies carrying a royal signet, Isyllt Iskaldur, necromancer and agent of the Crown, is called to investigate. Her search leads to desecrated tombs below the palace, and the lightless vaults of the vampiric vrykoloi. But worse things than vampires are plotting in Erisín – a long-dead sorceress is making a bid not only for renewed life but for the throne as well, and Isyllt's former lover is caught in her schemes.
As a sorcerous plague sweeps the city, Isyllt must decide who she's prepared to betray – the man she still loves, or the royal family she's sworn to defend.
Amanda Downum was born in Virginia, and has since spent time in Indonesia, Micronesia, Missouri, and Arizona. In 1990 she was sucked into the gravity well of Texas, and has not yet escaped. She graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in English Literature, and has spent the last ten years working in a succession of libraries and bookstores; she is very fond of alphabetizing. She currently lives near Austin in a house with a spooky attic, which she shares with her long-suffering husband and fluctuating numbers of animals and half-finished novels. She spends her spare time making jewelry and falling off perfectly good rocks.