Kerrion’s daughter, the infant Queen Kerra-Manu, has saved her kingdom from conquest, and her father has driven the Contara from her land. Blade’s wife, Chiana, is Regent, and the assassin and his queen are the enemy king’s prisoners, but the Queen’s Blade refuses to serve his foe. Not even imprisonment and the humiliation of the jailer’s whip will sway Blade, who defies Kerrion to force his hand.
Unless he slays the Cotti princes who plot against his queen, however, she will die. Blade does not believe that Kerrion loves Minna-Satu and saved her from the Queen’s Cup to wed her. Cotti Kings have many wives and concubines, and treat women as chattel.
Only the queen herself can convince him of the truth of her feelings and Kerrion’s, and then Cotti Princes will taste the assassin's blade to ensure her safety and win Blade’s freedom, but powerful men plot his demise and that of the infant queen. Blade returns to Jashimari and retires, but Kerrion’s half-brother, Prince Armin, hunts Blade down and attempts to force him to name Kerrion as his client.
The assassin would rather die than betray his Guild, however, whose laws forbid him from ever naming his true client. Once more, the fate of a kingdom and two queens rests in the hands of the Queen’s Blade.