The DeÁine are back! And that means trouble for the five Islands!
On a wild and stormy night Ruari MacBeth returns to his home island of Rheged after years of fighting overseas. He thinks all he has to worry about is the bad news he’s bringing back – he couldn’t be more wrong. Before he knows it he finds himself a hunted man and his world in turmoil. As he desperately hurries to make contact with the few friends he can trust he makes a chilling discovery – a DeÁine war-mage is covertly right in the heart of the royal court of Rheged! Even worse, two of Ruari’s friends are missing in mysterious circumstances. Will Montrose is falsely wanted for murder. His wife Matti is on the run trying to protect Wistan – the eleven year old heir to the throne – in the wilderness with winter coming on and only Ruari’s former sergeant to help her.
On the southern Island of Prydein what should have been a simple diplomatic visit for the young queen Alaiz swiftly turns into a nightmare as she and her companion are kidnapped. Managing to escape, she tries to return to the Island’s capital to warn of an impending coup only to find that she’s too late. Rebels aided by a mysterious priest have walked into power, but that priest is none other than Calatin, another DeÁine war-mage.
Both mages are intent on retrieving objects of magical power to the DeÁine. The DeÁine Treasures are guarded and hidden within the Islands, but if they got back into DeÁine hands the Islands could be enslaved forever. Yet two more mages are unaccounted for!
Brychan, only separated from the DeÁine by a range of mountains, is in great danger of invasion by a DeÁine army, but does anyone there realise it? For Cwen and her new friend Swein the bigger danger seems to come from the mad and dangerous King Edward for whom murder is a sport and power a drug. When they manage to convince one of the leading Knights in Brychan of the danger it seems like there might be hope that Edward’s reign of terror will be cut short. Yet rumours abound and the DeÁine are never far from their minds. Are they chasing false clues, and which danger is real?
On northern Celidon a former Knight, Maelbrigt, finds himself battling with the mages’ bands of killer Hunters as he desperately tries to save the life of Taise, the woman he loves. Together with two former spies from the DeÁine lands in the west of Brychan, and Maelbrigt’s friend Kayna, they fight their way east towards the sanctuary of the island of Ergardia, but for Taise the journey could be fatal.
Time is running short if the Islanders are to prevent the DeÁine’s plans from becoming reality. Only together will they be in with a fighting chance of winning and keeping their freedom.