Harald Haraldsson, farmer, sometime commander
of the allied armies, and the best storyteller
in the Northvales, has a problem. For thirty
years, the Kingdom of Kaerlia, the Order, and
the Vales have together held back the Empire.
Now the king who forged that alliance is dead.
His heir, preferring subjects to allies, is
trying to seize control of the Order. Its Lady
Commander has vanished.
To put the alliance back together Harald will
have to --
Raise an army from the Vales, where nobody owes
allegiance to anyone. Find and rescue the Lady
Leonora — if she is still alive. End a civil
war. Persuade a young king that he is making a
very large mistake. And do it all with as little
killing as possible. Because he will need every
lancer of the Kingdom and every Lady of the
Order when the Emperor and his legions, the best
infantry in the world, come south again.
But wars are not won only by fighting, even the
best infantry in the world has to eat and drink,
Harald has a lot of friends, and a story,
sometimes, is more useful than a sword.