first novel in a mesmerizing new fantasy series, draws readers into a world in
which cataclysmic events have left the Autarchy of Aygrima—the one land blessed
with magical resources—cut off from its former trading partners across the
waters, not knowing if any of those distant people still live. Yet under the
rule of the Autarch, Aygrima survives. And thanks to the creation of the Masks
and the vigilance of the Autarch’s Watchers, no one can threaten the security
of the empire.
In Aygrima, magic is a gift possessed from birth by a very small percentage of the population, with
the Autarch himself the most powerful magic worker of all. Only the
long-vanquished Lady of Pain and Fire had been able to challenge his rule.
At the age of fifteen,
citizens are recognized as adults and must don the spell-infused Masks—which
denote both status and profession—whenever they are in public. To maintain the
secure rule of the kingdom, the Masks are magically crafted to reveal any
treasonous thoughts or actions. Once such betrayals are exposed, the
Watchers are there to enforce the law.
Mara Holdfast, daughter of
the Autarch’s Master Maskmaker, is fast approaching her fifteenth birthday and
her all-important Masking ceremony. Her father himself has been working behind
closed doors to create Mara’s Mask. Once the ceremony has finished, she will take
her place as an adult, and gifted with the same magical abilities as her
father, she will also claim her rightful place as his apprentice.
But on the day of her
Masking something goes horribly wrong, and instead of celebrating, Mara is torn
away from her parents, imprisoned, and consigned to a wagon bound for the
mines. Is it because she didn’t turn the unmasked boy she discovered over to
the Night Watchers? Or is it because she’s lied about her gift, claiming she
can only see one color of magic, when in truth she can see them all, just as
she could when she was a young child?
Whatever the reason, her
Mask has labeled her a traitor and now she has lost everything, doomed to
slavery in the mines until she dies. And not even her gift can show Mara the
future that awaits her—a future that may see her freed to aid a rebel cause,
forced to become a puppet of the Autarch, or transformed into a force as
dangerous to her world as the legendary Lady of Pain and Fire. Download and start listening now!