The weeks since Jewel Markess ATerafin has been acclaimed ruler of her House have not been peaceful; four assassination attempts have been made on her life, and one of the most important members of her House Council has been forced to retire, leaving a seat empty at a time when she requires trusted allies.
The war in the distant South has ended; the armies, victorious, have returned to Averalaan. During the victory parade of the Kings' armies, the fifth assassination attempt occurs - in full view of the Ten, the Kings, and thousands of spectators. To survive, Jewel takes to the sky on the back of a winged cat; she returns to the Terafin Manse, leaving demonic destruction in her wake, the demon itself in pursuit. In the forest behind her manse, she has the power - barely - to stand against the demon; she does not have the power to destroy it.
In the aftermath of the Terafin's funeral, the Kings have demanded an audience with the newest ruler of House Terafin. A single, careless command given to the elemental earth on the day of the funeral has caused unexplained and disturbing changes to the palace itself. But before Jewel can answer the summons, she falls prey to the strange, sleeping plague that has felled citizens across the city of Averalaan - from the poorest of holdings to the wealthiest of mansions across the Isle.
It is there - in the uneasy land of dreams - that Jewel discovers the reason for the sickness, and there that she begins to understand the forces arrayed against both her House and the Empire; if she can survive the traps set by the Warden of Dreams and by her deadly, former allies, she will wake to a changed world - if she wakes at all.