Chasing the Skandian slave-traders who kidnapped Will and Evanlyn, Ranger Halt and warrior student Horace find themselves in the frozen northern islands, where they battle a ruthless black-clad knight as they attempt to rescue their friends.
Now a full-fledged Ranger responsible for a sleepy fief, Will finds a new adventure seeking the traitors who poisoned the king, investigating rumors of sorcery, and trying to rescue his friend Alyss, who is taken hostage.
After years as a Ranger's apprentice, Will is now the protector of his first fief. Not long into his service, everything that can go wrong does: Keren, a renegade knight, has taken over Castle Macindaw, a strategic gateway to the North-poisoning the royal family in the process-and is holding Will's friend Alyss captive. The situation grows direr when Will uncovers Keren's secret alliance with the Scotti, who have plans to plunder Araluen. Time is...
Halt, Will, and Horace set out for Hibernia, where a quasi-religious group, the Outsiders, is sowing confusion and sedition, and they find that secrets from Halt's past may hold the key to restoring order before the last kingdom is undermined.
Tennyson, the false prophet of the Outsider cult, has escaped and Halt is determined to stop him before he crosses the border into Araluen, but Genovesan assassins put Will and Halt's extraordinary archery skills to the test.
In 1896, an archaeological dig unearths an ancient trunk containing manuscripts that confirm the existence of Araluen Rangers Will and Halt and tell of their first meeting and some of their previously unknown exploits.