Welcome to the kingdom of Thalryia, whose residents fall into one of two categories: the Magoi, who wield various types of magic, and the Hoi Polloi, those people without that advantage. The magoi have been in control for as long as anyone can remember, until now...
For eight years Catalla “Cat” Fisa manages to avoid detection by living and working as a circus soothsayer, but that all changes the day a warlord shows up. With the crowd in a celebratory mood, due mostly to the Hoi Polloi in the province of Sinta being in charge of their own government for the first time ever, Cat finds herself enjoying the high spirits of the people. Cat begins to feel differently when the warlord she spotted earlier comes to her tent for a reading, especially when she discovers the identity of the man—Beta Sinta, brother to the new ruler.
Seeking to hide her true talent as a Kingmaker, a rare human lie-detector born only once every two hundred years, behind her soothsayer persona, trouble ensues when it becomes evident Beta Sinta knows Cat’s secret. Despite turning herself invisible in an effort to get away from him and leave the circus, fearing for her friends, Beta Sinta catches up to Cat, restrains her with a magic rope, and takes her with him.
Cat refuses to be used once again in the manner she was as a child, resulting in her fighting Beta Sinta (Griffin) every step of the way. However, when she comes to understand Beta Sinta and his three companions a bit better, she does not hate them quite as much as she feels she should. When the previous royal family begins to catch up to them, looking for Cat, she and the Sintans must work together to stay alive and keep Cat out of the clutches of the nightmares of her past.