After being fought to a standstill by the courageous Apalachee Nation, Spanish invader Hernando de Soto has changed his tactics. He will employ promises of peace to accomplish what cannot be achieved by violence alone. Lured by a young man's tale of gold and aided by an arrogant princess's treachery, he makes his way through the beautiful southeastern landscape. One by one, the ancient Nations fall victim to his lies as rulers and commoners alike are tricked into enslavement. In spite of the price de Soto has placed on his head, itinerant trader and outcast Black Shell shadows the Kristiano advance and finds that his own legend precedes him. Some will heed Black Shell's strategies of sacrifice and deception. Others will ignore him--and suffer unspeakable horrors as a result.