Political schemes abound as the kingdom teeters on the brink of Tsurani invasion. Duke Borric's expedition discovers that all is not well at the royal palace of Prince Erland of Krondor. Tomas has been abandoned to face the life-draining menace of a fearsome wraith on his own. And in the ancient mines of Mac Mordain, Cadal Dolgan, the Dwarven chieftain, and his mighty battleaxe return to face off against the ancient power of Rhuagh, the great golden dragon. Meanwhile, Pug encounters an intriguing new princess.