Nicholas, third son of Prince Arutha of Krondor is bright and gifted, but sheltered by the restrictive Court life. He sets sail with his squire Harry for pastoral Crydee. Shortly after their arrival, Crydee is attacked by unknown forces, the castle is reduced to ruins, the townspeople slaughtered and two young noblewomen abducted.  The invaders, servants of dark forces, are intent on the complete destruction of the Kingdom of the Isles. More than the fate of the two abducted women is at stake – there is an evil force that menaces the entire world of Midkemia, and Nicholas is destined to confront this terrifying threat.