In the duchy of Tira Virte, fine art is prized above all things, both for its beauty and as a binding legal record of everything from marriage and births to treaties and inheritances.
And although the Grand Duke is aware that there is more to the paintings of certain limners than meets the eye, not even he knows just how extraordinary the art of the Grijalva family truly is.
For certain males of their bloodline are born with a frightening magical talent, the ability to manipulate time and reality within their paintings, a Gift which enables them to alter events and influence people in the real world.
The power of the Grijalva family has always been used solely to aid Tira Virte and its ruler. But this all changes in the time of Sario Grijalva. Sario, driven by his own passion and ambition, has learned to use his Gift in a whole new way. Obsessed with both his magic and his beautiful, adored cousin Saavedra, Sario will do anything to win her love.
Unable to bear it when Saavedra gives her heart to another, he takes a first, fateful step beyond the boundaries previously placed on Grijalva spell-casting, capturing his cousin with forbidden arts.
And it is this rash and dangerous act that sets in motion a generations-spanning pattern of treachery and betrayal, which may cause both the Grijalvas and Tira Virte to pay a terrible price....