The rise of mechanical animation and its popularity at court, is threatening to end Andrea's scholarly pursuits of spell craft and literature - and force him to let go of his assistants who depend on him to support their families. In retaliation against the field that's ruining his life, Andrea begins to campaign against it. The efforts gain him notoriety but don't solve his financial dilemmas. When he's dragged to a party by his brother, he comes face to face with the man who pioneered mechanical animation: Leon Gregory de la Marche VI, Marquis de la Marche. And he's not at all what Andrea expected.