As Kyoko recovers from breaking Morgan le Fay’s curse, she and Thomas meet new members of the Australian Cabal. While Thomas, like most Americans, believed that all the Australian talk about their “perpetual war for freedom” was mere empty threats and propaganda, he soon comes to realize that the Cabal is deadly serious. The Australians are determined to “free” all enclave mages from their enclave bindings by force. Moreover, the Cabal has entered into an unrestricted alliance with Ares, the dangerously bloodthirsty seelie Lord of War! Thomas’s growing concern over their war preparations is only heightened by the waves of anxiety he senses from the Pacific Ocean.
In Boston, Amy struggles to understand her new mage sight with the help of the Danjou mages, Ted and Jonah. Mira begins acting strangely, and she and Devin decide the visit a nearby community of fae in order to seek their advice and bargain for the protection of their werewolf pack. There, Mira realizes that she has the heat, a rare illness that causes sirens to develop an obsession with a person, animal, or object. Although the heat is not normally a cause for much concern, in Mira’s case it is complicated by the object of her obsession: Ted.
At the same time, Ted and Amy return to Amy’s lab, only to find themselves under attack by members of the terrorist Natural Order. They manage to escape and flee to Atlantis with Mira, Devin, the werewolves, and Jonah, who continues to teach Amy to use her magick. In an attempt to combat the effect of her siren spell on Ted, Mira temporarily takes away his fertility, allowing them to get to know each other—and share some romantic moments—without the allure of Mira’s magick.
After rescuing the Aos Sí from their imprisonment in England, Cordelia visits Mary in Washington D.C., where she explains sirenic culture and the Bants’ complicated family history to her older sister. Mike, who has a new job working with the FBI, enlists the help of Cordelia’s sirenic magick to interrogate one of the terrorists who attacked Amy’s lab. In exchange for her services, Cordelia bargains with the U.S. government to ease the Aos Si’s transition into the Congolese rainforest.
While Cordelia and Mike are occupied downtown, Mary discovers Titania’s chalice in her sister’s bag, and drinks from it, unaware of the consequences. The chalice’s magick transforms Mary into a river nymph. Although Cordelia and Mike are dismayed by her transformation, Mary finds new purpose in life and bonds with the Potomac River. However, her ignorance of faerie culture gets her in trouble when she encounters a feisty nõiamoor who has claimed part of the Potomac’s banks for himself, and Cordelia must rescue her.
Meanwhile, Mira and the others arrive in Atlantis only to find that several other sirens have succumbed to the heat, including Mira’s progenitor, Marisol, and even the Atlantea herself. Marisol recovers first, then takes Mira on a swim to help her regain her senses. Mira’s standoffishness from the ocean’s pull has been compromised by the heat’s influence, and the Atlantic is finally able to break through Mira’s resistance to speak to her.
Soon after, Mira recovers from the heat, and the Atlantic tells her of the Aos Si’s relocation: the fulfillment of the Oracle’s prophecy, “undersea, break free.” Amy returns to Boston for her colleagues’ funerals, and as she is the only person left capable of performing the complicated surgical procedure to restore mage sight, decides she cannot let their sacrifice be in vain. Amy announces her intention to evaluate the Amir’s sister in Arabia, an act the U.S. government hopes will entice the Amir into supplying the silica-salt resources their mages need to fuel their enchantments.
Back in Australia, Kyoko battles the Cabal’s ruler Charlotte ric Queensland for her title in order to become an invested Cabalist; Thomas is granted the title of her Protector. They then travel to meet with the Pacific sirens — only for Thomas to discover that the Gobi Desert is reemerging in the middle of the ocean. Thomas is desperate to help the Pacific — the desert’s rise is causing both the ocean, and its affiliated sirens, tremendous pain.
In order to secure the Cabal’s aid in magically relocating the desert, Kyoko reveals that Thomas is an oracular pivot, the person whose decisions will cause Australia to win or lose their planned war. Determined to enlist Thomas’s support in their planned war against the mage enclaves, the Cabal agrees to focus all their efforts on designing a spell to move the Gobi Desert. The Danjou Enclave in California has developed key magical technology that the Cabal needs to design the spell, and so a small group of Cabalists, along with Kyoko and Thomas, travel in secret to California to steal the spell designs, and kidnap the mages who developed them.
Back in Atlantis, Amy, Ted, and Jonah prepare for their journey to Arabia. Ted and Nimchuk convince Amy to use her magick to leash several of the werewolves in order to secure an advantage against potential treachery from the Arabas. After Amy and her entourage depart, Mira is summoned by the Atlantea to the Palace to take up her new responsibilities as the queen’s heir.
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