The Aurora Award-winning author of the Man of His Word novels returns to the magical realm of Pandemia with the first in his Handful of Men series. For fifteen years, Queen Inos and King Rap-the former stable boy and secret sorcerer-have ruled Krasnegar wisely and happily, raising a family and prospering in their remote little kingdom. But a darkness is encroaching, foreshadowed by prophecies of unimagined cataclysms across Pandemia. Prince Emshandar, better known as Shandie to Krasnegar's royal family, is engaged in several conflicts along the Impire's borderlands, as armies of djinns, gnomes, and other races declare and wage war. His grandfather, the aged imperor himself, continues to behave more erratically and tyrannically with each passing hour. Rap dismisses the warnings as superstitious nonsense and the borderland battles as far from home and none of his kingdom's affair. But on the night of the birth of his fourth child, Rap is visited by a god who regales him with a cryptic tale of Pandemia's impending doom. Once upon a time, a young sorcerer made an error, an error that now threatens to nullify the Protocol, the treaty that has controlled the use of magic for a millennium. Without the Protocol, the realm will fall into chaos and certain destruction-unless Rap embarks on a dangerous quest to right his long ago wrong . . . The beginning of a new series by the author of the Seventh Sword novels and many other acclaimed works of fantasy, The Cutting Edge is "deftly woven and set forth with a refreshingly unpretentious clarity and directness: imagine David Eddings rewritten by Kate Wilhelm. Grab this one" (Kirkus Reviews).