The court of the gryphon king has ever been a dangerous and seductive place where Ishtar’s blessing is both the hot breath of passion and the cold kiss of steel. Yet as the childhood companion of King Ditanu, Iltani never doubted her place in either his kingdom or his heart. Then duty called her away to complete her training. Now, a woman grown and a sword-maiden to the goddess Ishtar, Iltani returns and takes up her sacred destiny to protect the royal line. But so much has changed. Ditanu most of all. The youth she knew is gone. A stoic, untouchable king now sits the throne. Does anything of their once deep bond survive? Iltani must swiftly find her place in a court where cunning governors plot treason, trusted advisors orchestrate deceptions, and noblewomen seek to beguile King Ditanu using methods both fair and foul. But the greatest threat of all is no mortal adversary. Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Underworld, desires to make Ditanu her consort and seize his kingdom for her own.