The best assassins learn their magic at the Academy of the Subtle Arts. Everyone joins for their own reasons: to give death her proper due, to acquire outrageous fortunes, or to know that history bends to their blade. Zayn Carter joined the Academy to save his family. In the sleepy town of Varna, an ancient evil lurks, preying on the townsfolk and keeping them enslaved by her poison. This arrangement has lasted for centuries because to kill the Lady is to guarantee the death of every man, woman, and child in the town. Faced with this impossible conundrum, Zayn vows to take down the Lady, and all that support her. He'll save his family from this horrible fate—or die trying.