The Vale is home of The Gifted, those born with magical talent that manifests in unpredictable ways that many look upon with suspicion and fear. Even as the Vale's king works hard to teach citizens truth and tolerance concerning the gift of magic, the process is slow and politically risky. Many of the Gifted have no choice but to seek shelter in the stronghold city of Safehold. But is safety possible even there?
Sixteen-year-old Arlin is a nobleman's son, grandson of the king of Vale. Handsome and spoiled, he was born to warrior parents with older siblings who outshine him in every capacity. Misunderstood, his sullen attitude alienates his family. With the sudden appearance of wings on his back--a very rare and visible magical Gift--Arlin has no choice but to, literally, take flight to protect himself and his grandfather's reputation as an impartial judge of Gifted rights.
Fiella was adopted as an apprentice to the local bookmaster, where she discovered her passion for books and talent for sales. Her parents were killed when she was only seven--an event she witnessed that led to her desperate regret and longing to help others. While traveling on her first book-circuit as a journeyman, she impulsively offers to help Arlin get to Safehold, a sanctuary for Gifted, not realizing the danger she'll be placed in by doing so. Not the least of her worries is the secret she's been carefully hiding: She, too, is Gifted.
Shonwin is heir to the lordship of Kuturan. When he was a child, his father was murdered by his own wife. Living with a mercilessly cruel parent led to Shonwin's single-minded devotion to Kuturan. When the king heard of the ruthless horrors practiced there, he tore away their income and livelihood, denying them the rights other lords of the land were entitled to. To rebuild his heritage and birthright, Shonwin means to have his revenge. Arlin's Gift will enable him to not only discredit and disgrace the king but strike at the king's protection of the Gifted and his own beloved grandson, Arlin.