It's been twenty years since Queen Thirrin Lindenshield defeated General Bellorum and saved the tiny country of the Icemark. But changes are coming. 

Charlemagne, the youngest of Thirrin and Oskan's five children, is growing increasingly angry and resentful that he can't train to be a warrior, because of the polio that crippled him when he was only four. 

Sharley is their parents' favorite. Medea is a year older than Sharley, and the only one of the children to inherit their father's gift of witchcraft. But while her father turned toward the Light, Medea is letting her hatred and resentment of Sharley turn her toward the Dark.

Meanwhile General Bellorum decides that with his army's superior training and new weapons, he and his sons will have no trouble overcoming and squashing the troublesome kingdom of Icemark forever. When Thirrin realizes that this might be a battle she and her allies won't be able to win, she decides to protect the Icemark civilians and Sharley by sending them to the Southern Continent, where the ruling Doge has offered them refuge. She makes Sharley Prince Regent of the refugees, giving him royal power equal to her own. He is to lead and govern them until it is safe to return. 

Will the changes of the last twenty years be enough to give General Bellorum an edge, and a victory? What about Sharley—what awaits him far to the south? And Medea—will she turn completely to the Dark, deserting her family and the father she adores, and helping destroy her homeland? Changes are coming, and it's impossible to control or predict what the fates will decide.

This booktalk was written by university professor, librarian and booktalking expert Joni Richards Bodart.