Third installment of Deitz's saga about the kingdom of Eron (Springwar, 2000, etc.). Avall has won the struggle against his rivals and is now High King of Eron, plus master of the magical gems that feed on blood and confer astonishing powers. This time, young Avall must contend with the secretive but deadly fanatics of the priesthood of the Ninth Face, who have their own cogent reasons for wanting to depose Avall and claim his gemstones. Meanwhile, warrior Merryn, Avall's twin sister, has her own problems. Plots, dastardly deeds, cliffhangers, treachery: Business as usual in vampire-gemstone–land.