Returning from the dead, Duncan reestablishes control as the nation's spiritual leader. Sent south to persuade Alexis and the Kingdom's tarrac to return, he manages instead to drive her farther away, creating a rift between them and in the process, making an enemy – to both himself and Gambria.
With the King believed lost at sea, Queen Guina declares him dead and finally marries Father Konrud, the man she truly loves, elevating him to Lord Chamberlain. Yet her throne is far from secure, for events in the south threaten to split the kingdom. Not only is Alexis intent on going her own way, but affairs across the sea in Glanon are suddenly unsettled. Unhappy to have waited so long for his father to die so he can assume the lordship of Glanon, Prince Dade decides to take matters into his own hands and accelerate the process.
While Dade consolidates his power, the Castaways succeed in leaving the island only to be trapped in Glanon where Dade discovers the King is not dead. Deciding to use the doddering King as a pawn in his plans to carve out his own kingdom, he reaps the additional benefit of the unexpected arrival of disgraced Father Cattwg who has fled to Glanon after another failed assassination attempt on his nemesis Duncan. Dade recognizes the immediate potential of having his own High Priest and sets course for the coming war.