This fantasy novel features psychic powers and steampunk in the otherwise pre-industrial world of Malga. Promono-Dei the World-Queen has a jewel called the Oracular Topaz which will answer any question, except about the future. Her great antagonist is Kordo-Strî, leader of the great naval dominion of Nobalos. Kordo-Strî manipulates people’s thoughts, but falling short of full mind control. These two are at war for domination of Malga.
At the beginning of the novel, Promono-Dei is crowned World-Queen. She defeats Nobalos’ allies one by one. Then she confronts a more dangerous coalition, including Âryoso-Rûn, King of Roude-Kî, Nobalos’ powerful but wavering ally. But even before Âryoso-Rûn’s army can arrive, her soldiers have already been back by Nobalos’ other forces. Meanwhile, Kordo-Strî’s husband has invented Malga’s first steam-powered warship for the Nobalan navy.
Nobalos, with two other wars to fight, must win quickly. Promono-Dei must win quickly because one of her allies has betrayed her. Meanwhile, the revolutionary Nobalan steamship is launched. The fate of the Hegemony, Nobalos and all Malga hangs in the balance.