The prestigious King's Cavalla of Gernia has been ravaged by the
Speck plague. The deadly disease has decimated the ranks of both
cadets and instructors, and the few survivors remain weak and
frail. Many have been forced to relinquish their military ambitions
and will return to their families to face lives of dependency and
As the academy infirmary empties, cadet Nevare Burvelle also
prepares to journey home. But far from being a broken man, Nevare
has made an astonishingly robust recovery from the Speck plague.
Furthermore, while in the grip of the plague, he defeated his Speck
nemesis, freeing himself, he believes, from the Speck magic that
infected him. As he begins the journey to his ancestral home of
Widevale, he is in high spirits, expecting a jubilant homecoming, a
tender reunion with his beautiful fiancee, Carsina, and a bright
future as a commissioned officer.
Yet back in the shelter of his family, Nevare finds his nights
still haunted by visions of his Speck self betraying everything he
holds dear in his waking life, and his days tormented by a rare
side effect of the Speck plague that shames his family--and
repulses Carsina. Though he expected to slip back into his family
fold effortlessly, Nevare finds himself instead caught between the
sensual, enchanting realm of the Specks and his own ancestry, the
world he has always known.
And then the magic in Nevare's blood--magic that he thought he
had destroyed--roars to life, and he realizes that his most
dangerous enemy, an enemy that seeks to destroy all he loves, might
dwell "within him." . . .
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