In the Imperia Triplica, nonhumans know the only way to survive is to make the humans comfortable. They wear their sealskins—the tech that makes them appear human—and they keep their heads down. And they never, ever breathe any utterance of the deadly and mercilessly hunted sirens.
But when the Immortal Emperor lies dying after an assassination attempt, the rules change. Those loyal to the Empire hunt the assassins. Those loyal to their planets brace for revolution. And those with the magic to destroy galaxies search for any shelter in this oncoming storm. In the eye of the building hurricane is the Emperor’s last viable clone, and three opposing forces circle him. The Emperor’s Praetor, Octavius, holds an item of unknowable power and won’t rest until he’s used it to restore the Emperor to life. Forgery expert Naomi and her twin sister, the ever-prickly and trigger-happy Sho, lost their family, their planet, and Sho's voice to the Empire. Siren rebellion leader Simeon will destroy anything that obstructs his path of ending the Empire once and for all—even if that obstacle is a prudent ally.
When Sho and Naomi stumble across the clone, Naomi sacrifices herself so Sho can get him to safety. Octavius finds Sho for long enough to present her with an ultimatum: if Sho returns the clone to the Senate, she can get her sister back safely. But Simeon is in pursuit as well, and he has an equally tempting offer. If she hands the clone over to the revolutionaries, she can free the whole of the empire from the oppression they’ve endured for centuries.
But the clone doesn’t want to go back to the Empire or go to the revolutionaries. And Sho doesn’t trust either side to keep their promises. As she pieces together a plan to get her sister back herself, Octavius sets the Empire’s deadliest assassin on her—and nothing Sho does can prepare her for his unshakable pursuit.