Keladry of Mindelan has returned to the royal palace of Tortall, where she fights to maintain the rigorous regimen of a page while confronting the prejudices that come with being a female in a man's world. And if that isn't hard enough, she's also starting to get something suspiciously like a crush on her closest friend, the handsome and sarcastic Neal. Yet Kel has much to be grateful for as well: a loyal circle of friends, an ill-tempered but lovable horse, and a scruffy dog who would give his life for her. Then one day, a group of pages is trapped by bandits, and the boys depend on Kel to lead them. Could it be a sign of things to come? Suddenly those in power are looking at Kel in a whole new way, wondering if she can succeed far beyond what they imagined.