Among the less-travelled mountains and plains of Central Europe, a little east of Austria perhaps and north of Slovenia, lies the old kingdom of Orsinia. A land of forests and quiet farmlands and towns, with its capital city Krasnoy on the broad Molsen River, Orsinia has always found itself, like all the countries of Europe, subject to forces beyond its borders.
Val Malafrena is an estate in the rural western provinces of Orsinia, far removed from the engines of European politics and content for it to remain so. When Itale Sorde, the idealistic young heir to Val Malafrena, leaves his family home to venture to the bustling capital city of Krasnoy, it is therefore very much against his father’s wishes. Sorde’s intention is to work as a journalist, but he will soon find himself moving from reporter on the great events of the day to active participant in the rising tide of revolution that seems destined to sweep the continent.