Before the New Republic seized the nation, before its legendary duchess was ever lost or found...there was the last empress.
On her eighteenth birthday, Néandra Gatspierre, daughter of the Earl of Witham, learns that she has been chosen to wed Jordinia's future emperor, Dane Ducelle IV. In the diary she receives as a gift, Néandra chronicles her days from arriving to the palace in Pierma as a new bride and accepting the crown as empress, to navigating a complex marriage and suppressing her dangerous affections for another man. Meanwhile, an ill-starred succession of famine, economic decline, and plague threatens to inspire the country's most disgruntled citizens to full-fledged rebellion. The stage is set for the romantic adventure trilogy in this short, diary-format prequel.