Seventeen year-old Nica Santos risks her life traversing the tower ledge to spy on her father's meeting with one goal in mind: escape from Sartis and her father's unrelenting cruelty. She is spotted by her father's newest, and most handsome, soldier, Jonn Shanks, but he releases her when he learns she is Mosaba's daughter.
Her father announces he has captured King Jacoby, of the neighboring country of Jarisa, and that Sartis is at war with Jarisa. Recognizing that the onset of war will be her chance to leave, Nica sneaks into her father's office at midnight to steal a map and encounters Jonn Shanks again, who accuses her of being a spy. Nica returns the insult and hurries away, unsettled and anxious to get on with her plan to run away from Sartis.
Suspecting the man is her father's most prominent prisoner - the wounded King of Jarisa - she agrees, not wishing to see the man murdered. But as soon as they cross the sliver, they are stopped by Jarisan soldiers and taken into custody. That's when Nica realizes she has been tricked....