Mikell, an honorable Elf, is visiting Kenara’s capital of Innsbrooke with his wife, Mara, when they learn the devastating news that their ruler, Princess Tashan, is dead, slain by the evil Hranites. Mikell’s eagerness for vengeance is waylaid by a Kadrian magic user named Ari, who claims that Tashan isn’t dead. Even worse, it seems that High Lord Mundin is using the news to start a war between Kenarans and Hranites. Mikell finds himself and his wife joining with the magic user, her thieving Elf friend, and an outspoken Nim barkeep, all of them now outlaws pursued for their knowledge as they race to locate and rescue the princess before their country can be falsely drawn into war.
It’s not just the perilous task before them that Mikell struggles with: hauntings of the past serve as a constant reminder of why he hates, and can never trust, anyone who uses the vile and inherently corrupting magic, as Ari does on a regular basis. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Ari keeps trying to teach Mara, who is a noble healer, how to use the magic, forcing Mikell to remain on guard not only against physical dangers but also against this threat to his innocent wife. But Ari is the only one who knows how to track down the princess; if Mikell is to have any part in saving their land, he will have to find a way to accept this alliance and work together with an evil magic user.