Third in the author’s Chronicles fantasy series (Medalon; Treason Keep, both 2004).
After the surrender of Medalon's armies to the invading Kariens, young R’shiel (the “demon child” of prophecy) and Tarja (the outlawed Defender captain) flee to neighboring Hythria to regroup. R’shiel has engineered the marriage of Damin Wolfblade, a Hythrun warlord, and Princess Adrina of Fardohnya, hoping to unite their nations to help oppose the Kariens. But Damin arrives home to find a power struggle underway for the throne of Hythria, while Adrina’s royal father is implacable in his hatred for the Hythruns—especially the Wolfblade clan. R’shiel and her mentor Brak are forced to call on all their godlike powers to end the conflict. Meanwhile, in the north, Tarja has recovered from injuries sustained in fighting the Kariens, and returns to guerrilla action against the invaders. In the course of healing, he has recovered from the geas that made him fall in love with R’shiel, whom he was raised to think of as his sister. Captured while trying to sabotage the ferry across the great river that divides his country, Tarja is condemned to death and taken to the Citadel in order that the Kariens can make his hanging a public example. R’shiel and Brak arrive in time to mobilize the Medalonian resistance, who free Tarja, seize the Citadel and prepare to hold out against the Kariens while awaiting reinforcements from Hythria and Fardohnya. But R’shiel still faces her greatest challenge: overcoming the Kariens’ power-hungry god Xaphista, who seeks to destroy all rival gods and subjugate all human nations under his sway. She has grown strong and confident, but killing a god may be a task beyond even her magical powers. Fallon brings her latest to a satisfying resolution, with young characters growing in response to their experience, and fantasy made credible by her realistic treatment of the details of daily life.