Riven kan Ingan has reached his middle years, settling comfortably into the life of a country giarl, and Life, in general, is good. Oh, there are a few things which could be better--such as his less than congenial relationship with son and heir Val or his discovery that second son Ilke wants to become a priest. At least the other children are still under control, and his beloved Barbara is just as loving and fiesty as ever. A treaty has been made with the Ghermians, and the barbarians are settling peacefully within Francovia’s borders. Too soon, however, their little bubble of contentment bursts. When a new sovereign comes to the Throne, civil war erupts between native Francovians and its foreign-born citizens, and Riven’s home and family are threatened as he is forced to choose between swearing loyalty to a madman or becoming a traitor to the country he loves.