Elizabeth Bear expands the world of her Eternal Sky trilogy beyond the Steles of the Sky into the southern Lotus Kingdoms. The Gage is an automaton built around a human heart, created by a long-dead Wizard of Messaline. His purpose now is to carry a message to the Rajni of one of those Lotus Kingdoms. With him travels a Dead Man, once the bodyguard of the ruler of the Uthman Caliphate, now fallen. The Dead Man is now a nameless mercenary. But the Lotus Kingdoms are soon to be at war with each other, and Wizardly messages are seldom what they seem to be on the surface.