"But the world changes. In all the women's villages of the Empire, this week or next, a soldier like myself will arrive to as to live in the village, to take up a trade." Casyn paused, for a breath, a heartbeat. "And to teach you and your daughters to fight."
In a world reminiscent of Northern Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Partition Assembly many generations earlier has divided and circumscribed the lives of men and women. But with invasion threatening, the Emperor has made an audacious request: that women learn to fight and defend their land. The lives of Lena, fisherwoman of Tirvan, and her partner Maya are torn apart by this; Maya choosing exile, Lena choosing to stay to defend her village and the Empire.
Appointed to leadership, Lena's concepts of love and loyalty are challenged as she learns the skills of warfare, and, in the aftermath of battle, faces the consequences of her choices. Leaving Tirvan to search for Maya, Lena is drawn into the intrigues and politics of the Empire, forcing her to examine what she most truly believes.