Enemies march across the realm wreaking havoc. Region by region, Midkemia is being ripped apart, and loyal spy Jim Dasher and his allies find themselves overpowered at every turn. Meanwhile, palace coups threaten to topple the thrones of Roldem and Rillanon, as Lord Hal of Crydee and champion swordsman Ty Hawkins attempt to smuggle Princess Stephané and Lady Gabriella, her perplexing lady-in-waiting, out of Roldem to safety. But nowhere is safe,including Ylith, Midkemia's strategic bastion, which faces an onslaught of brutal Keshian Dog Soldiers and a mysterious force from beneath the sea. And if Ylith falls, all is lost.But there is still a slim hope, as the magician Pug and the Conclave of Shadows undertake a magical quest to reveal the dark force that's orchestrating Midkemia's destruction . . .