Dev is a smuggler with the perfect cover. He's in high demand as a
guide for the caravans that carry legitimate goods from the city of
Ninavel into the country of Alathia. The route through the Whitefire
Mountains is treacherous, and Dev is one of the few climbers who knows
how to cross them safely. With his skill and connections, it's easy
enough to slip contraband charms from Ninavel – where any magic is fair
game, no matter how dark – into Alathia, where most magic is outlawed.
But smuggling a few charms is one thing; smuggling a person through the warded Alathian border is near suicidal. Having made a promise to a dying friend, Dev is forced to take on a singularly dangerous cargo: Kiran. A young apprentice on the run from one of the most powerful mages in Ninavel, Kiran is desperate enough to pay a fortune to sneak into a country where discovery means certain execution – and he'll do whatever it takes to prevent Dev from finding out the terrible truth behind his getaway.
Yet the young mage is not the only one harboring a deadly secret. Caught up in a web of subterfuge and dark magic, Dev and Kiran must find a way to trust each other – or face not only their own destruction, but that of the entire city of Ninavel.
Courtney Schafer was born in Georgia, raised in Virginia, and spent her childhood dreaming of adventures in the jagged mountains and sweeping deserts of her favorite fantasy novels. She escaped the east coast by attending Caltech for college, where in addition to obtaining a B.S. in electrical engineering, she learned how to rock climb, backpack, ski, scuba dive, and stack her massive book collection so it wouldn't crush anyone in an earthquake. She then moved to the climber's paradise of Boulder, Colorado, and somehow managed to get a masters in EE from C.U. Boulder in between racking up ski days and peak climbs.
After completing her masters, she got a job with a local aerospace company, married an ... (more)