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For nearly a hundred years, the city of Sarenn has suffered under the Malediction, a curse that has cut the city off from the world and brought the dead back each night to haunt the streets. The common folk live in fear and poverty while nobles seek escape in the theater. The young Lord Ilyen Nessiryn has chosen to seek oblivion in pleasure and dark magic, but when one of his rituals backfires, he diverts the resulting curse onto his lover, the coquettish actor Miri Kesprit. When Miri awakes as a night-walking, blood-drinking vrko, he at first embraces it as simply another role. But the night holds dangers for him as well, and for the young deadkiller who has pledged to hunt the undead children of the Malediction and bring them to a permanent rest. And the greatest danger of all might be the love that grows between them.