India, seventh century CE. Harsha, the youngest prince of the northern kingdom of Sthaniswara, is immersed in his studies at Nalanda. As far as he is concerned, the future of his realm is secure in the hands of his brother, the strait-laced crown prince Rajyavardhana. But when the time comes for his sister's swayamvar, Harsha is compelled to tear himself away from his books - for only a little while, he hopes.
Things, however, take an ugly turn at the swayamvar, as Devagupta, king of neighbouring Malava, makes no secret of his ire at not being chosen by the princess. And when their father, King Prabhakaravardhana, dies under mysterious circumstances soon after, the princes fear something sinister is afoot. While Rajyavardhana takes the throne, Harsha sets out to unravel a web of intrigue he suspects spans kingdoms.
But his mission is cut short, as war rocks the land and treachery lays low his brother. Burdened with the crown, the scholar prince now has to battle enemies who follow no dharma, exact vengeance upon the devious Devagupta and hunt down the even more dangerous foe pulling all the strings. And as a new force rises to the south, Harsha realizes he must ready himself to face his greatest challenge yet.