When we meet Zivah, she is facing the final brutal tests of a healer...the deadly venom from the fangs of a snake to test her "dedication and discipline" and the stinging tail of the blackarmor scorpion and finally the red-ringed spider. If she survives, she will become the youngest high healer Dara has ever seen.
Survive she does and in a short time she finds herself tending to Amparan soldiers who have contracted the deadly rose plague. One of the soldiers afflicted is their leader, Commander Arxa and it will be under Zivah's care that his life will be saved.
Meanwhile, Dineas is finding his way home to his tribe. He has been in the Amparan prison, tortured and is at long last making his way home.
After treating the Amparan soldiers Zivah is about to contract the dreaded rose plague herself. She survives the first onslaught of the disease but in a matter of years the disease will return to take her life. Her life has changed forever. Now she tends to the ill and spends her days separated from others so as not to infect her people.
The paths of Zivah and Dineas are about to entwine. Both are willing to use their lives to uncover the truths of the ambitions of the Amparan leaders. Are they planning to attack and destroy their neighbors? Risking their lives, Zivah and Dineas enter the Amparan society one as a warrior and the other as a healer, both as spies who risk being exposed.
The storyline builds as the attraction between Zivah and Dineas becomes stronger and the two become aware of it. The rise of loyalty, courage and sacrifice move the story forward through the alternating points of view of the two characters.
This is not a swashbuckler. It's more of a welcome into a fantasy world where disease is the most formidable enemy, where lives have no guarantee and where the characters shine with integrity and compassion even within the enemy camp. The rising love story underpins it all. A satisfying beginning to a series with great potential.
400 pages 978-1484788554 Ages 12 and up
A healer who cannot be healed . . .
When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art—until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.
A soldier shattered by war . . .
Broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, Dineas thirsts for revenge against his captors. Now escaped and reunited with his tribe, he’ll do anything to free them from Amparan rule—even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self.
Thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, the two couldn’t be more different: Zivah, deeply committed to her vow of healing, and Dineas, yearning for vengeance. But as they grow closer, they must find common ground to protect those they love. And amidst the constant fear of discovery, the two grapple with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts.
This smart, sweeping fantasy with a political edge and a slow-burning romance will capture fans of The Lumatere Chronicles and An Ember in the Ashes. --from the publisher