Book VII of Crown of Stars. King Henry’s kingdom is ravaged by internecine warfare, in a conflict both long and bloody. The bitter in-fighting in the court and the ceaseless attrition of the raiders have weakened his reign and sapped his strength. And the spell holding the exiled Ashioi from the world has failed and the land, ravaged by the cataclysm of their return is only just beginning to recover. New alliances are made and old ones broken while Sanglant struggles to legitimise his own leadership. The returned Ashioi are gathering to protect and expand their reclaimed territory. Stronghand has begun a march of conquest into Sanglant’s realm. Adelheid and Antonia have made an unholy alliance and Sabella and Duke Conrad are moving to seize Sanglant’s crown.