Paksenarrion wasn't planning to submit to an unwelcome marriage and a lifetime of poverty, so she left her village with a plan and her grandfather's sword. And a few weeks later, she was installed as Duke Phelan's newest recruit in a company of soldiers for hire, her arms training about to begin. But when Paks sees combat, she's stabbed with an ensorcelled knife and barely survives. Then the near-misses start mounting up, raising questions about this young fighter. Is she attracting evil because she is a danger to them all? Or is there another reason malignant forces seek her life?
Paks will face the spider-minions of the Webmistress Achrya, orcs and the corrupted men who serve blood mage Liart, Master of Torments. She will also earn the gratitude of elves and of her Duke. And through conflict she will learn she has powers of her own and a destiny. To become a gods-chosen Paladin of Gird, and a target for the ultimate torture.
Elizabeth Moon joined the US Marine Corps in 1968, reaching the rank of 1st Lieutenant during active duty. She has also earned degrees in history and biology, run for public office and been a columnist on her local newspaper. She lives near Austin, Texas, with her husband and their son.