A year after the events of The Destruction of Kirill, Kirill and Niko have settled into their unorthodox home life. Kirill works as Niko’s assistant, and in return Niko flings himself into teaching Kirill everything he thinks he should know, whether or not Kirill thinks it’s appropriate to learn.
Their cosy life together is thrown into disarray when Army representatives scout Niko: the French have enslaved the free citizens of Gascony. Niko’s reputation for reform—one he never sought—has preceded him and now his technical expertise is required.
Plans for the pair to remain together disintegrate as soon as they set foot in camp; separated and conscripted into the slave infantry, Kirill encounters dangerous strangers, new friends, and faces from both his and Niko’s past he’d sooner avoid. Can he survive long enough to make it back to Niko, or will his past conspire to drag him down once more?