In a world devastated by the rot's widespread destruction, only the tales preserved in the stones can uphold the truth and defend the Goodlands. In this world, stone truth is valued above anyone's word, and stonewisers are the only ones capable of retrieving the tales from the stones, the only link between past and present, order and chaos.
Lusielle's bleak but orderly life as a remedy mixer is shattered when her husband betrays her and the king's magistrate sentences her to die for a crime she didn't commit. She's on the pyre, about to be burned alive, when a stranger breaks through the crowd and rescues her from the flames.
Brennus, the embittered Lord of Laonia, is no white knight. He's trapped in a curse that has killed his kin and doomed his people. His only chance to defeat the curse is to find a woman bearing the Goddess's birthmark--and then kill her in the foulest of ways. Lusielle bears such a mark.