Willa Bresher wants her life to matter. Her whole world is Haven, a commonwealth of villages struggling for survival three centuries after a plague devastated Earth's population. But Haven feels too small for the big aspirations of a confident and restless young woman like Willa.
She bolts from the threat of marriage for an apprenticeship with an arcane guild of mind-linked stewards who guide the flow of goods and information between villages. Her mentor is a visionary leader with a radical plan for Haven's future. Willa needs to prove she can be as smart and daring as a man in order to secure a place in that future.
When she encounters an intriguing outsider named Akenam in the ruins of an ancient city, Willa's path begins to veer off course. Space-dwelling humans have returned to resettle the planet, and their intentions toward the aboriginal Terrans are unclear. Willa follows Akenam to a distant island to join five other envoys at a summit meeting that will determine the future course of all their civilizations.
There, Willa clashes with the summit leader, a 370-year-old scientist with a grudge agaist Haven. She can't decide if she can trust Akenam-- even though she might be falling in love with him. Back home, Willa's former mentor is determined to make himself Haven's first king. And a coded message from her long-dead mother is starting to make sense.
Now Willa's choices matter more than she'd ever imagined.