An epic new fantasy of passion, power, and enchantment-- From a master of contemporary fantasy comes an unforgettable tale of heroes, heroines, and rogues whose two rival nations are scarred by suspicion, shadowed by war, and summoned to destiny by a magic that is both gift and curse. In the icy rthern realm of Eron, three young artisans bound by an unspeakable act of violence arrive at an isolated gem mine on a special commission for their king. They are the arrogant but talented Eddyn; Avall, his archrival; and beautiful Strynn, newly wed to Avall, but carrying Eddyn's child. Meanwhile, to the south, amid Ixti's scorpion-riddled sands and sensuous cities, a horrible accident has forced Prince Kraxxi into exile with blood on his hands and a price on his head. The four will be drawn together--and torn apart--by a magnificent find: a gem with magical properties beyond anyone's imagining or control. It is a struggle in which hidden forces pursue a frighteningly sinister agenda. For whoever possesses the gem holds the future of the world...and the power to destroy it.