1494 Barcelona. As Torquemada lights the fires of religious fervor throughout the cities of Spain, accused heretics are not the only victims. Thousands of books and manuscripts are lost to the flames as the Black Friars attempt to purge Europe of the ancient secrets of the gods and the bold new ideas that are ushering in the Renaissance.
Nadira lives a dreary life as servant to a wealthy spice merchant until the night a dying scholar with a secret about a powerful book is brought to the merchant’s stable. Her rare skill as a reader of Ancient Greek, Latin, Arabic and Hebrew makes her valuable to men who pursue the book to exploit its magic. Once she gains the knowledge of the old religions, she realizes that ideas and words are more powerful than steel or fire for within its pages are the words that incite the Dominicans to religious fervor, give the Templars their power and reveal the lost mysteries of Elysium.
Nadira begins her transformation from servant to sorceress.
However, her companions are impatient. Lord Montrose is eager to turn his attention to seeking out and punishing his brother’s murderers. The pious Friar William is in the throes of doubt, as what he has seen of Nadira’s growing powers and the mystical elixirs of the alchemists challenge his faith. The secretive Templars are eager to regain what their forbidden order has lost.
As Nadira’s abilities grow with practice and experience, she becomes more powerful. She begins to lose what it means to be human and starts to take on the guise of a goddess. Her companions wonder if she is becoming an angel of mercy, or a frightening reaper of souls.