As part of the secret Paragon program, Thorne is a mage trained to summon his mana as a weapon. However, as he chose to have his mind unlocked to magic, rather than being someone born with arcane talent, Thorne is looked down upon by more powerful mages. While he completes menial courier tasks within the city, his comrades are dispatched across the continent as influential agents of the Archive.
When Esen, a frontier farmer, arrives desperately seeking help, Thorne finally sees an opportunity to prove himself. Esen claims that his wife was kidnapped by a mage, but Thorne is skeptical. After he prevents an assassination attempt on Esen, Thorne realizes that the abduction is part of a larger scheme. Deserting his Paragon duties, Thorne and Esen leave the city to search for the kidnappers.
During their pursuit, they discover that Esen’s wife is the lynchpin in a plot to upset the tenuous balance of power between the provincial princes and the influential merchant guilds. More worrisome to Thorne is that some of his fellow Paragons may be involved. Now questioning the true intentions of the Paragon program, Thorne’s impulsive attempt to distinguish himself leads him on a bloody quest for revenge.
Thorne is a Paragon, a mage with the rare ability to wield his mana as a weapon. Despite knowing powerful magic, he lives a life of despair, continually fighting a losing battle against his inner demons and the specters of the people whose lives he could not save. Finally reaching his breaking point, Thorne decides to seek out an old lover, Celeste, who has the power to erase memories.
After a disastrous attempt to find Celeste destroys part of the mages’ guild, Thorne tries to make amends by volunteering to find an influential mage that has disappeared. During his investigation Thorne discovers that the missing mage was the victim of a conspiracy led by Reihana, a former Paragon and bitter rival.
Recruiting unlikely allies including a disgraced cavalier, a farmer turned mercenary, and a corsair captain who lost his ship, Thorne chases after Reihana in an attempt to stop her plans for sowing the seeds of rebellion and war across the continent. Along the way Thorne will need to continue his search for Celeste, and perhaps more importantly, decide if wiping his mind clean of past mistakes is really his only option.