As Child of a Hidden Sea drew to a close, Sophie Hansa found herself effectively deported from Stormwrack, the magical world where her birth parents met and, disastrously, married. Sworn to secrecy, she has been biding her time, studying the few relics she was able to bring back to San Francisco from the Fleet of Nations, and preparing in case a chance arises for her to return and investigate the link between our world–which the Wrackers call Erstwhile–and Stormwrack.
When Captain Garland Parrish of the sailing vessel Nightjar turns up on her doorstep, it is with a straightforward proposition. Her mother, Beatrice, is caught up in a legal tangle related to Sophie’s birth, and if Sophie returns to Stormwrack and goes on a short sail with her father, the notorious Duelist-Advocate of the Fleet, he will see to it that the red tape is conveniently cleared away. Sophie wants to return, of course, and she wants to know both of her birth parents better. She agrees immediately.
But what does Clydon Banning really want with his newfound daughter? Is he truly interested in a relationship with his only child, or is there a darker agenda at work? On Stormwrack, even simple issues of marriage, divorce and paternity are bound up in bureaucracy, and the divorce between Cly and Beatrice, citizens of two very different nations, is more an international incident than a domestic matter between two consenting adults.
Sophie just wants to study Stormwrack, to learn whether it is a future version of her own world. If it is, she needs to find clues about what destroyed most of Erstwhile’s land mass and raised the level of the oceans, and how magic came to exist in Earth’s far future. But on the sail to her father’s homeland an encounter with bandits, followed by a disturbing revelation about Cly’s home nation, Sylvanna, threatens to alienate father and daughter completely. This complicates Cly’s divorce … and triggers a scandal that could possibly set the port and starboard sides of the Fleet at each other’s throats.