Or, perhaps more accurately, the theft of a boy’s life and future. Young orphan Kellian could never have expected a grand life in the vibrant port city of Castellane if fate had not intervened, but fate did. At the tender age of 8, he is removed from his orphanage and offered a unique position: to become Sword Catcher to Conor Aurelian, Prince of Castellane and heir to its throne. Kel will be raised in luxury in the palace alongside Conor, trained and educated as befits a royal, and given every advantage in life–with one notable exception: His life will never be his own again. Bespelled to resemble Conor, Kel essentially becomes Conor for any occasions where the prince might be in danger, or at which he would rather not put in an appearance. He is Conor’s double, his shadow self, tied forever to a person he both loves and resents–and from whom he might never be free.
Eleven years on, tensions are growing–both personal and political. Conflicts with the neighboring countries are high, and Conor’s betrothal might be the only thing to calm the waters–an idea that Conor is furious about. And Kel is starting to chafe under the restrictions of his position, realizing as he grows how very many of the things he wants–like love and stability and a place to call his own–are simply not possible. But it is not until Kel catches an assassin’s blade meant for Conor that things really begin to escalate, for it is then that he meets Lin–a young physician and a member of the only people in the world still to hold a trace of magic. An outcast from society like Kel, Lin has her own ambitions and desires, and this fateful meeting is about to set a chain of events into motion that could alter the very fabric of both of their worlds.