Newly handfasted to the dark-haired archmage Lord Dal, Ellspeth and her husband escort his mother to her ancestral lands. The trip is interrupted when mercenaries under the control of a rogue mage attack. Dal's mother is severely wounded and Ellspeth is captured. Her sole hope for escape is Nobyn, an untrained wizard going through the throes of awakening magic. However, Nobyn is Bashim's apprentice and under the mage's total control.
Dal must make an impossible decision whether to rescue his wife, cure his mother, or thwart Bashim's plans. More than who lives or dies is at stake. He might be able to live with his responsibility for the death of a loved one, but could he survive killing the future of magic.