When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron. Growing up in the southern kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her. While some are born with a talent for one of the five passions - art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge - Brienna struggled to find hers until she chose knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna's greatest fear comes true: she is left without a patron. Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, she reluctantly accepts. But there is much more to his story, for there is a dangerous plot to overthrow the king of Maevana - the rival kingdom of Valenia - and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved, some closer to Brienna than she realizes. With war brewing, Brienna must choose which side she will remain loyal to - passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. Who will be that queen?