Life is good for Farnor Yarrance. It is good for everybody in the valley. And has been for generations. So much so, that few ever feel the need to travel beyond it -- over the hill.
And no one ever bothers to enter it from beyond.
Until one day, they do.
Men come from the south, haunted and pursued. And something else comes, silent and awful, from the north. With their arrival, an ancient corruption, festering slowly in the midst of the community, blossoms into a menace that threatens not only the valley but the land beyond, and the lands beyond that.
Only Farnor, scarcely a man yet, has the power to oppose this menace, though he is unaware of it, his own soul clouded with bitterness and anger at the terrible tragedy that events now inflict on him.
Not until he is pursued into the Great Forest to the north does he gradually learn the extent of his own power. And the truly terrifying nature of the forces he must face...