As one of the emperor's many sons, Fourteen hopes to be chosen as his father's successor despite Master Chid Den's cautions. When magic and science combine to threaten Fourteen’s life, it’s too late to escape. He and Den must put their trust in Mariessa, a small sixteen-year-old girl with unusual abilities. As Den holds to his secrets, Mariessa continues to distrust, and Fourteen's pride brings contention, their survival depends on learning to believe in one another. And if the emperor's fear of their success is any indication, their efforts could affect more lives than their own.