Daylen Jagaro was never a very good merchant. A failure in his homeland of Barsaive, when he hears that the Golden Empire of Cathay opened its doors to the West, he sets out on a quest for riches and glory and to explore an ancient and exotic culture filled with opportunity.
But instead of opportunity he finds a land torn apart by war. Teaming up with Su Shen the Daughter of Heaven and Bei the jade obsidiman, the unlikely companions are soon swept up in a quest to uncover a terrible threat greater than the civil war that grips the land.
As the danger mounts, Su shen and Bei discover that the fate of the Empire may lie in the hands of a foreigner, one whose entire life has been spent in one selfish pursuit after another. When Daylen is forced to confront his own fears, he begins to realize what is truly important in life--a realization he may not live long enough to profit from...