For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies - elementals of earth, air, fire, water and metal. But now, Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, grows old and lacks an heir. Ambitious Lords manoeuvre to place their Houses in positions of power, and a war of succession looms on the horizon.
Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, young Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans' most savage enemy - the Marat - return to the Valley, his world will change. Caught in a storm of deadly wind furies, Tavi saves the life of a runaway slave. But Amara is actually a spy, seeking intelligence on possible Marat traitors to the Crown. And when the Valley erupts into chaos - when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies - Amara will find Tavi invaluable. His talents will outweigh any fury-born power - and could even turn the tides of war.