Bargains. Only the truly desperate make them. Only the truly desperate need them. And always, the desperate pay.
The silence and never-ending dark of winter are all Elice has ever known, for she is the daughter of the Winter Queen. Isolated in a northern queendom with only the seals for company, she dreams of color and music and life. So when a whaling ship crashes just offshore, she doesn't hesitate to rescue the lone survivor, Adar, who quickly becomes her friend. She must keep him hidden from her mother at all costs, for if the Winter Queen discovers him trespassing, she'll kill him. But when her mother reveals just how dark her soul has become, Elice realizes she is as much a prisoner as Adar. To ever know true freedom—ever to become the woman she was meant to be—she must flee with him. But in their flight, she begins to see hints of something more nefarious. The darkness that has taken hold of her mother is spreading, staining the world with its influence. Unbeknownst to Elice, a bargain was made long ago. A bargain she was born to fulfill.