Duke Tremane's allegiance to his emporer is stretched to breaking point. When besieged citizens of Hardorn offer him the chance to sit on its throne, he can see no point in refusing. The antiquated earth-taking ceremony of knigship proves he has an unsuspected talent for earth magic. It is a telent that will bind him to the future not only of Hardorn, but to his former enemies in Valdemar. When the final storm breaks, none but the most valiant will survive.