D. Hart St. Martin strived to give life to a world that is entirely gender neutral. She sought to tell the story of a young woman who meets the typically male-oriented definition of a mythic hero. She imbued Lisen Holt aka Lisen of Solsta with the greatness and flaws of the archetype of the boy-man who learns his destiny is not what he envisioned. In the process, Lisen grew up to be a formidable presence, and Ms. St. Martin’s Garlan mythology benefited.
After their first daughter’s death at the hands of the Thristans, Lisen and Korin escape the desert and ride home to Garla, but the loss of Rinli, the child conceived sixteen years earlier during the Thristan fertility ritual of the Farii, has delivered a devastating blow to their union. Their grief overwhelms them, and Korin, consumed by feelings he dare not express, reenlists as a captain in the Emperi Guard and runs off to Pass Garrison, abandoning Lisen and their two remaining children in Avaret.
Yet, at a time when miracles seem to have forsaken the two spouses to endless despair, something wondrous has unfolded in the desert. Rinli, thought lost forever, has fulfilled the prophecy of Mantar's Child and risen from her grave, proclaiming she has come to break the world. But her resurrection precipitates a personal crisis as she strains to identify who she is now and why Mantar sent her back, while for Lisen and Korin, it becomes a race to stop their lost-then-found daughter from bringing their world to ruin.
Return to Garla where before moving forward, Lisen must climb out of the abyss of her unbearable sorrow to confront her run-away spouse. Where she enlists his aid in an impossible task. Where Rinli takes risk after risk to prove her worthiness as a leader to the Elders of Thristas. And where Lisen realizes an inescapable truth—either she or Rinli must die to bring peace to the people of Garla and Thristas.