Zaïdmouth is a far-future paradise. Its five communities are intertwined by artificial flower networks so complex they combine to create the virtual realities through which Zaïdmouth is run. Yet into this vivid world a bad seed is about to be sown.
Mansuruquyn, Priestess-Interpreter, has made a mistake. Exiled from the Shrine of the Crone, she is forced to live wild in Zaïdmouth for one season. But who are the two mysterious men who run the empty Inn in which she shelters? And what is their connection with the metal beasts of the Cemetery?
Nuïy is a young man leaving the stifling home he hates. Making for the Shrine of the Emerald Man, he discovers a world of order and domineering wills. But what secret plan do the leaders of the Shrine foment? And why do they embrace Nuïy's unique skill with such enthusiasm?
It is the fate of Mansuruquyn and Nuïy to come together in a struggle to determine the future of Zaïdmouth. There will be battles covert and open, betrayal and loyalty, capture and escape. But after all this, which single person will provide the blueprint for the future?