Anwar Montan, an orphaned product of an illicit fourteenth-century love affair is exiled from an aristocratic family by a grandfather who wants him dead. He is an outsider, growing up facing hardships and fighting for acceptance at a school for troubadours. Armed with no more than a thirst for knowledge of the world and a curiosity about his place in it, he enlists in his mentor’s pursuit of the most important challenge of his young life – to help uncover evidence of a nefarious cabal’s plot to oust Queen Joanna I. Anwar learns to interpret the puzzles and patterns in the world and becomes an elite code-breaker with help from his mentor, archivist Master Henri Gérard, who has been robbed of his own family’s legacy by the conspirators. Anwar and Gérard’s mission is abruptly interrupted when Anwar is unjustly conscripted into an indenture with the mercenary brigade of the leader of the cabal, Enis Charbonneau. Anwar finds love with Charbonneau’s private nurse while convalescing, but shortly after finding this hope for a life worth living, Gérard is murdered by the cabal. Anwar is framed, forcing him to escape and leave behind the woman he loves in order to avenge Gerard’s killing. He must outwit the conspirators before they have murdered everyone else that he loves and dethroned the Queen.