|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Preceded by||Traitor's Moon|
|Followed by||The White Road|
With their most treacherous mission yet behind them, heroes Seregil and Alec resume their double life as dissolute nobles and master spies. But in a world of rivals and charmers, fate has a different plan.
After their victory in Aurënen, Alec and Seregil have returned home to Rhíminee. But with most of their allies dead or away, it is difficult for them to settle in. Hoping for diversion, they accept an assignment from queen Phoria to go to Seregil's homeland and call Klia to Skala. En route, however, they are ambushed and separated, and both are sold into slavery to the Plenimarans.
There they are bought by the alchemist Yhakobin who hopes to use Alec's Hâzadrielfaie blood to create a rhekaro, a sexless creature that can heal everything and prolong life. The first doesn't meet his expectations and he has it butchered. By the time he makes a second one, Seregil and Alec escape, the first with the help of a servant woman and the second by picking his lock. Knowing that the rhekaro will die without his blood and reminding himself of the Dragon Oracle's prophecy, Alec takes him along, while Seregil brings his betrayer, Ilar í Sontir, to show them a secret tunnel.
The atmosphere is initially tense when Alec finds Ilar's identity and Seregil, too, has doubts about the uncommon-looking child, but they fare well for several days, with Alec's hunting skills and the food they had stolen. Later, the rhekaro, whom Alec names Sebrahn, shows extraordinary healing powers, which they use to get rid of their slave brands so that they are not found out by other slavers.
Near the port they are found by their former master. Ilar flees in panic, but Alec and Seregil stand firm. The archers target Seregil but Alec jumps in front of him and is killed. Anguished, Seregil kills Yhakobin before Sebrahn starts singing and kills the soldiers. His tears then fall on Alec's wound and create the white blossoms that the alchemist had been trying to create and brings him back to life.
During this time Alec's shade quickly finds Thero and directs him and Micum to Seregil. Thero helps them they continue their journey, but they are soon found by a necromancer, presumably sent to retrieve the rekharo. When Thero can't stop him, Sebrahn sings again and kills him. Together they get aboard and head for Aurënen. On their landing, Magyana lays eyes upon the child and says she sees the a dragon in his aura.
The book received generally positive reviews with a Goodreads average of 3.86/5 based on 1,108 ratings. Furthermore, the book was also nominated for Best Fantasy novel in 2008 by Romantic Times.