Former Gladiator Bella Kanto has been exiled from her beloved city of Tabat, finding herself aboard a hostile ship bound for a frontier town, her only friend a puppy. She’s lost the magic that kept her young and vital, and for the first time is suffering the depredations of age. When she encounters an old lover along the way, she has a chance to escape—but does she really want to take it? And who is the mysterious woman Selene, who keeps appearing to Bella?
Meanwhile, former printer’s apprentice Lucy and her friend Maz, a student from the College of Mages, have been kidnapped from Tabat and are being taken to the Southern Isles in search of ancient magic in a place called the Coral Tower. They fear what will happen when they get there, particularly when their kidnapper realizes he’s wrong about Lucy’s identity.
Dragons, oracular turtles, steam dirigibles, magical artifacts, and more combine in a kaleidoscopic tale that continues the saga of the city of Tabat and its inhabitants.
Return to a beautifully wrought and immersive world where intelligent magical creatures fight for their right to be free in a system that makes use of their work—and sometimes their very bodies—in a city full of revolution and riot, ready for the return of its lost Champion: the reluctant Bella Kanto.