Six years have passed since the failed uprising of the High Holders, and the man behind the conspiracy is where the rex and Maitre Alastar can keep an eye on him.
Charyn has come of age and desperately wants to learn more so that he can become an effective rex after his father - but he's kept at a distance by the rex. So Charyn sets out to educate himself - circumspectly.
When Jarolian privateers disrupt Solidar's shipping, someone attempts to kill Charyn's younger brother as an act of protest. Threatening notes follow in the wake of acts of violence against the rex and his family, demanding action - build more ships or expect someone to die