Perimadeia: the famed Triple City and the mercantile capital of the known world. Behind its allegedly impregnable walls, everything is available. Including information which will allow its enemies to plan one of the most remarkable sieges of all time. The man called upon to defend Perimadeia is Bardas Loredan, a fencer-at-law, weary of his work and of the world. For Loredan is one of the surviving members of Maxen's Pitchfork, the legendary band of soldiers who waged war on the people of the plains for many years, rendering an attack on the city impossible. Until now...But Loredan has problems of its own. In a city where court cases are settled by lawyers disputing with swords not words, enemies are all too easily made. And by winning one particular case, Loredan has unwittingly become the focus of a misplaced curse from a young woman bent on revenge. The last thing he needs is to be made responsible for saving a city.