When Jewel ATerafin returns home from the war on the South, she arrives moments too late to prevent the demonic assassination of Amarais ATerafin--the Terafin, head of House Terafin. And though one of her companions, Lord Celleriant of the Winter Queen's court, manages to slay the demon, it is too little, too late. For now the battle to become The Terafin and claim the House Seat will begin. Four candidates have declared themselves, but Jewel, the Terafin's own secretly designated choice to become the next head of House, has yet to announce her intentions. While some seek to intimidate Jewel or recruit her for their own bids, others begin to gather around her: her den, the most loyal of House Terafin's Chosen, Haval the dressmaker, powerful magi, and three mysterious "winged cats" who come to her in the midst of a deadly encounter in a forest not meant for mortals to walk.... Jewel does not want to make any decisions before the Terafin is laid to rest. But as the enemies of House and Empire mobilize, it becomes terrifyingly clear that everyone -- including Jewel and her otherworldly allies -- must survive the three days of the funeral rites before they can even be certain that there will be a House Terafin left to fight over....
- 12 and up