For centuries Safehold lay under the unchallenged rule of the Church of God Awaiting, and no one knew that the Church was a fraud-established by a rebel faction of Safehold's founders, meant to keep humanity hidden from the alien race that destroyed Earth. Then awoke Merlyn Athrawes, cybernetic avatar of a warrior a thousand years dead, felled in the war when Earth was lost. Merlyn has one purpose: to restart the history of the too-long-hidden human race. And now the fight is thoroughly underway. The island empire of Charis has declared its independence from the Church, and with Merlyn's help has rallied much of Safehold to its cause. But victories come nonetheless at a heavy cost in bloodshed and loss-a cost felt by nobody more keenly that Merlyn Athrawes.