The cooper Kharl has no sooner taken possession of the estate bestowed upon him by Lord Ghrant of Austra as thanks for his aid in quelling the revolt of Ghrant's dispossessed brother, when he is summoned back to the capital. Hagen, his friend the lord chancellor, needs help in dealing with rebellious nobles. After a bloody campaign, in which Kharl discovers and is forced to use even more deadly order magery, civil order is restored and Ghrant's throne firmly secured. To his surprise, Kharl is soon called upon again by Lords Ghrant and Hagen, this time to return to his homeland of Nordla as envoy. Nordla has become the next target of Hamorian expansion. Back in his hometown of Brysta, Kharl discovers that his old enemy Egen - the local heir apparent - is engaged in plot with the Hamorians to take the throne from his father and open Nordla to the enemy. Kharl has to find a solution, for the sake of both the land of his birth and his adopted new country.
L. E. Modesitt, Jr. was born in Denver, CO in 1943. In the years since, he has been a delivery boy; a lifeguard; an unpaid radio disc jockey; a U.S. Navy pilot; a market research analyst; a real estate agent; director of research for a political campaign; legislative assistant and staff director for a U.S. Congressman; Director of Legislation and Congressional Relations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; a consultant on environmental, regulatory, and communications issues; a college lecturer and writer in residence; and unpaid treasurer of a civic music arts association. In addition to his novels -- most notably the Recluce saga, Spellsong series and Corean Chronicles -- Mr. Modesitt has published technical studies and articles (generally with boring titles), columns, poetry, and a number of science fiction stories. He and his wife, a lyric soprano, make their home in Cedar City, UT.