"For centuries, the five great kingdoms of Andalane have coexisted peacefully. Then, Steveren Langene, King of Ithrace, known as "Firemane" for his brilliant head of red hair, is betrayed by his counterparts, and a bitter war engulfs the world. Ithrace, the Kingdom of Flames, is destroyed by battle, ending an ancient balance of power. As a Free Lord of Osean, Daylon Dumarch owes allegiance to no king, but knows it is unwise to betray any of them. So when an abandoned infant is found secreted in Daylon's pavilion, he instantly realizes that the child must be the missing heir of the slain King Steveren. The child is valuable--and vulnerable. A cunning and patient man, Daylon keeps the baby's existence secret, sending him to be raised on the Island Kingdom of Coaltachin, the Kingdom of Night, where the most powerful and lethal soldiers--a Ninja-like warrior sect called the Nocusara, the "Hidden Warriors"--are trained. Years later, a young man named Declan, also an orphan of unknown parenthood, earns his Masters standing as a swordsmith. Blessed with intelligence and skill, he unlocks the secret to forging King's Steel, the apex of a weaponmaker's art shared by only a few. Yet this precious knowledge is also deadly, and Declan is forced to leave his home to safeguard his life. Landing in Lord Daylon's provinces, he hopes to start anew. Soon, the two young men--an unknowing rightful heir to a throne and an exiled swordsmith--will discover their fates entwined, and that the legendary, long-ago War of Five Crowns has never truly ended . . . and that they must see it to conclusion"--Provided by publisher.