Acair of Ceangail, still dodging his reputation as notorious black mage, has undertaken the ultimate quest- ridding the world of a mysterious, terrible dark magic while using no magic of his own. But he never bargained for three maddening complications- attempting to safeguard his beautiful but horse-obsessed companion, Leirsinn; trying not to slay a profoundly irritating prince of Neroche; and slipping in and out of places he knows will spell his doom if he's caught.
Leirsinn of S raichte simply wants to do what needs to be done-find the makers of various spells and rescue her grandfather. But walking side-by-side with Acair brings a terrible revelation about the magic she needs, and what price it will exact from her soul.
Together, Acair and Leirsinn face danger they never could have imagined, culminating in choices that will change them and alter the history of the Nine Kingdoms forever.