Lois McMaster Bujold's second epic fantasy and sequel to 'The Curse Of Chalion'.
The Golden General's curse has at last been lifted from the royal family of Chalion and Cazaril can now rest easy and enjoy his new life with his bride Betriz.
However, despite being freed from years of ghostly torment, life for Ista, the Dowager Royina, has not improved. With the death of her mother, the Provincara, and with her surviving child, Iselle, now ruling Chalion from the capital, Cardegross, she is left without purpose.
Her brother's family still think she's mad and aim to keep her locked up safely to avoid embarrassment, but she craves freedom and escape, and begins to plan how this may become reality.