In Kit Whitfield's stunning reimagining of the world, an uneasy accord holds between the people of the land and the people of the sea. Without deepsmen guarding its shores, no nation can resist invasion - and without princes born of the royal blood, part landsman and part deepsman, no nation can maintain its allies in the ocean. The royal strain is fiercely protected, and the penalties for unauthorised breeding between landsmen and deepsmen are terrible.
But now the house of England is collapsing under centuries of inbreeding. Anne, its youngest scion, watches her mother's desperate fight to keep the throne stable and prays for a safer world. But hidden away on a secluded estate is Henry, bastard heathen, groomed all his cold, lonely life to make a grab for power. If either of them is to survive the coming conflict, they wil need more than faith alone.