Sydney is a teenage Alchemist, a human bound to protect other humans from vampires, whether they're the comparatively normal Moroi or the pure-evil Strigoi vampires. Sydney's been on a sort of job suspension after aiding and abetting former criminal Rose Hathaway of the Vampire Academy series, but now the Alchemists need Sydney's talents. Jill Dragomir, Queen Lissa Dragomir's half-sister, is in danger of being killed and the best way to keep Jill safe is to put her in a human boarding school--with Sydney posing as her older sister. Sydney's a consummate professional and she has some mild compassion for the Moroi, but living in such close quarters with a vampire isn't going to be easy after she's spent her whole life viewing vamps as abominations. The job is even trickier because she's working near Keith, a slimy Alchemist with a personal vendetta against her. Add to that, Jill's enigmatic friend Adrian Ivashkov is complicating matters, and their nice human boarding school is harboring its own host of secrets.