K.J. Parker's new stand-alone novel is a perfectly executed tale of intrigue and deception. For the first time in nearly forty years, an uneasy truce has been called between two neighbouring kingdoms. The war has been long and brutal, fought over the usual things: resources, land, money. . . Now, there is a chance for peace. Diplomatic talks have begun and with them, the games. Two teams of fencers represent their nations at this pivotal moment. When the future of the world lies balanced on the point of a rapier, one misstep could mean ruin for all. Human nature being what it is, does peace really have a chance?