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"Are the gods truly gods or just powerful humans?" The question still echoes through the city of Peshar even six hundred years after the coming of the gods. Garith Balal, a successful scribe and fair witness in the city, is pulled into the resistance to the gods through influence of a slave bought to satisfy his wife's social climbing desires. Alvis, the slave, a human from another world of the Cadeki empire, has roots in the planet Archlea where he is now a slave. He is a believer in "The Design"; the belief that all things in the universe are controlled to an unknown end by the Great Designer who created the universe.