Just into his twentieth year, Akbar readies himself to emerge from behind the veil and stake his claim to the Mughal throne. But the figure of his regent, Bairam Khan, looms large in his path. After an exchange of blows and wits, Bairam Khan is subdued. Akbar forgives him, and forces upon him a pilgrimage to Mecca. On the eve of his departure, Bairam Khan is found murdered in his chamber. With the help of Mahesh Das—a Brahmin who Akbar has befriended—Akbar must find out who killed Bairam Khan. But in the insidious Mughal court—a hotbed of intrigue and suspicion—danger lurks at every step. One false step could cost them their lives.