Like her half-breed mother, young Zarq Darquel can't always hold her tongue. A peasant on a large dragon estate, she goes unnoticed by the Temple of the Dragon—until she accidentally captures the attention of an eccentric and dangerous dragonmaster, unleashing a storm of tragedy. Her clan is plunged into destitution, her beautiful sister, Waivia, sold into slavery, and her mother lost to madness.
Desperate to find Waivia, Zarq and her delirious mother flee through the underworld of their land. Consumed with the desire for revenge, Zarq develops a taste for the highly addictive venom of the dragons she has been taught to revere—and with this poison, she imbibes their memories and glimpses a plot for social revolution. But to achieve it, she must defy not just sexual taboos and patriarchal conventions, but the Emperor who rules her nation.