Son of a barbarian sellsword who is raised by the Margrave of Francovia after his father is killed in His Majesty’s service, Riven kan Ingan is, by his own admission, a heretic, who doesn’t believe in the existence of either magic or religion. Though he rises through the ranks under his own power, he’s never allowed to forget his foreign ancestry, and schemes to marry the Margrave’s daughter and become a true member of the Royal House, but the gods of Arcanis, insulted by his denial of their existence, have other plans for the young skeptic.
When Aleza is abducted by the soldiers of Mahldimir Djaan-Baih, a follower of Drel, god of Death, and Riven is wounded in her defense, he swears a Bloodseek oath to rescue her. Accompanied by Bar-Bara, a barbarian slave girl, his search takes him to the desert country of Izhmir. There, in the City of the Sunrise--where the sorcerer practices his black arts and his people live in fear of becoming sacrifices to Drel--Riven seeks the aid of a reluctant rebel in freeing Aleza.
Saving the princess, however, does not end the story, for there’s no Happily Ever After for the Margrave’s young soldier. Riven’s punishment is only beginning as the gods make him fall in love with a woman he can’t have. When he loses her to another man, there’s nothing he can do to claim her and nothing he can do to forget her, because the gods aren’t finished with him yet!