The city of Kos is a place of divisions. From the dust of the city commons, the Forum, to the gold and marble halls of the royal palace, the line between the lives of the rich and poor is clear and unbroken. But perhaps even more pronounced is the line between the normal people, and those with gifts: the mages, and the Aki.
Mages have the power to draw a person’s sins from their hearts, forcing them to take the form of great beasts made of shadow, the inisisa. Taj is an Aki, a sin-eater. He and his kind kill and absorb the insisa that the mages conjure. But despite what they do for them, Aki are despised by the people of Kos, shunned for the “sin spots” that mar their skin. But Taj is special, his sin spots don’t fade like others do, and more importantly, he can command the insisa. But as Taj’s gift grants him privilege and prestige in the palace, Taj is drawn into a web of conspiracy and deception. With traitors in their midst and rebellions on the rise, Taj must find a way to keep himself– and the beautiful princess Karima– safe, and the city of Kos standing.