Ted Dekker has created another thrilling novel that brings God's love for his people to life in vivid colors that will forever stain his readers' hearts.
Toma Nicolescu is a servant of Her Majesty, the empress of Russia, Catherine the Great, living in 18th-century Russia. He is a war hero, acclaimed throughout the land for being able to dispatch of any human foe. He and his servant Alek are sent on a special mission to Moldavia (today modern Romania) to watch guard over the Cantemir twins, beautiful Lucine and Natasha. His mission is to watch them but stay away from them, for they are notorious for seducing young men and spitting them out. The Empress wants her soldiers to remain protective but professional. Toma has taken a vow that he will not love either lady.
Lucine and Natasha are beauties, but Natasha is the passionate seductress type who lives for pleasure. Lucine is the sensible one who carries herself with dignity and hasn't allowed herself to get involved with any man since an affair which ended in a scorned lover and a miscarriage. But love does blossom between Toma and Lucine, although neither will admit it. Although they are highly attracted to one another, Lucine refuses to give her heart to a man that won't woo her and Toma is too proud to disclose his ever growing feelings for her.
Then, the catalyst enters the picture in the form of a Russian noble, Vlad van Valerik. He has his eye on Lucine, of course. Although she despises him, she can't keep herself from feeling drawn to his passionate embrace of life, which Toma refuses due to his station. Out of spite for Toma, she allows herself to be seduced by this dark man, who has his own plan in mind for Lucine.
On the outside, this is a historical romance. Toma is drunk on his love for Lucine but can't admit it, even to himself. The visiting Russian nobles, lead by van Valerik, appear to embrace the hedonistic lifestyle. But they are also supernatural beasts who have been turned into instruments of evil against their will. This is a novel of passion, love, romance, daring, boldness, and seduction. But it’s also a novel about pure, unselfish love.