from the introduction:
The reclusive Strangtham clan is throwing a grand celebration in honor of young Clarisse Strangtham, who has announced her eligibility to wed. Many sordid things are whispered about the family, not the least of which is their connection with abhorrent sea-things said to stalk the dark waters of the bay. Strangtham ‘palace’ is actually a barge carved from buoyant, volcanic stone, moored to an ancient jetty older than the harbor itself.
Many of the local gentry are planning to attend the party, despite the family’s reputation. The Strangthams are known to possess a seemingly endless hoard of gold jewelry. And Clarisse Strangtham is rumored to be an exotic beauty! Gladiatorial combats are scheduled, with young nobles--or their champions--vying to be among the first considered for her hand.
What the general population doesn’t know is the Strangthams have been interbreeding with a nearby colony of Deep Dwellers for several generations. The alluring young woman occasionally glimpsed about town is not the real Clarisse Strangtham. That honor belongs to an aberrant Deep Dweller/human hybrid who has reached maturity and desires a mate. And by the Dark Depths, she’s going to get one!
Only the best for Clarisse . . .