Leading a nation is always a family feud.
Zendis, the fierce southerners, have taken over G'il Rim and set their sights on the lush Heartland farmlands. Although Ironstone Soseki, daughter of the Zendi king and the Sage-of-Sages, is thirteen, she still hasn't had a vision. She's Silent.
Her mother's prophecy is that Ironstone will be like a lodestone pointing toward the Zendi nation's destiny. But Silent at thirteen means Ironstone will never be a Sage. She's sent back to the Zendi capital.
Ironstone won't stand for that. Instead, she turns her face to the G'il Bab Mountains and searches for the Pendar Oracle. She finds destiny for herself, the puppet king, and the Heartland.