Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people - even her soul.
When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her fathers, Baru vows to mask her hate, join the Empire's civil service, and claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to put a stop to the Emperor's influence and set her people free -whatever the price.
A natural savant she is sent as an Imperial agent to distant Aurdwynn - a post she worries will never get her the position and power she craves. But Baru soon discovers Aurdwynn is a complex and secretive country, seemingly on the brink of rebellion. All it would need is a match to the tinder . . .
Drawn by the intriguing duchess Tain Hu into a circle of seditious dukes, Baru may be able to use her position to help create a revolution that will threaten the Empire's hold on the country; an outcome, which if successful, could threaten to bring the Empire to its knees.
As she pursues a precarious balance between the rebels and a shadowy cabal within the Empire, she orchestrates a do-or-die gambit with freedom as the prize. But winning the long game of saving her people may be far more costly than Baru imagines.