On the surface, Lady Alayne ui Halen lives a comfortable, privileged life as mistress of the Prince of Teleahn in the sumptuous Castle at High Rock. But all isn’t as it seems. Alayne is a hostage, imprisoned in the Castle to ensure the loyalty of her powerful father. Worse, she’s part-Shayn, her mixed blood betrayed by the cobweb-white streaks in her brown hair. The Shayn have been oppressed by the Teleahni for centuries, but the lot of the halfbloods is worse. Hated by the Shayn and persecuted by Teleahnis, halfbloods’ lives are usually brutal and short. For now. A charismatic halfblood known to most as the Great Friend has a plan: a place of safety and community away from the hatred of both Shayn and Teleahni. And more turmoil is coming, because despite his professed love for Alayne, the Prince of Teleahn has decided to marry a Shayn noblewoman. As Alayne gets swept up in both the future of Teleahn and the machinations of the Great Friend and his allies, she will have to choose between duty to the prince who loves her, or freedom and the man she loves.