Khat, a member of a humanoid race created by the Ancients to survive in the Waste, and Sagai, his human partner, are relic dealers working on the edge of society, trying to stay one step ahead of the Trade Inspectors and to support Sagais family. When Khat is hired to find relics believed to be part of one of the Ancients arcane engines, they are both reluctant to become involved. But the request comes from the Warders, powerful mages who serve Charisats Elector.
Khat soon discovers that the deadly politics of Charisats upper tiers arent the only danger. The relics the Warders want are the key to an Ancient magic of unknown power, and, as all the inhabitants of Charisat know, no one understands the Ancients magic. A beautiful woman and a handsome thief will try to unravel the mysteries of an age-old technology to stop a fanatical cult before they unleash an evil that will topple Charisat, a place where silken courtesans and beggars weave lies side by side, and where the tier that you live on determines how high up the food chain you are.