Six years have passed since Ferret and her friends thwarted the nefarious plots of Ycevi Ghytteve in A Business of Ferrets, but the cross currents of politics and intrigue still rip at Emperor Khethyran of Bharaghlaf and his Court. When the Seer Owl returns to Court, his training at the Kellande School finally complete, a lethal series of events is set in motion. An ancient evil magic has arisen, luring the Emperor's enemies into new and deadlier schemes. It will take all of Owl's hard-won training, and the combined efforts of his old friends and new allies, to help the Scholar King steer the ship of state through the shoals and riptides ahead.