This is the third book of the Riftwar Saga (after Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master and before A Darkness at Sethanon).
In Krondor, while discreetly escaping on the roofs after robbing a rich local merchant, Jimmy the Hand stumbles across a Nighthawk, an assassin. Finding out the target was Arutha, who has just come back from Rillanon to wed Anita, Jimmy decides to warn the Prince and help him discover who wants his death.
As two Nighthawks are captured for questioning, one of them turns out a disguised Moredhel. But just after dying, the creature strangely rises up again and starts attacking the Prince. Only with much magic will they be able to kill the monster.
After a raid in the Nighthawks' headquarters where the zombie assassins were neutralised by burning the whole building, peace returns and the wedding can take place. But as Arutha and Anita are walking down the aisle, Jimmy catches sight of Laughing Jack, a former colleague of Jimmy who he'd yet killed that night on the roofs, hiding in ambush in the cupola with a crossbow. Nimbly climbing up to try and prevent the worst, Jimmy only manages to deflect the arrow, which strikes Anita.
On closer inspection, they discover the arrow was poisoned: Anita is slowly dying. After exhorting Jack to tell them the name of the poison, Silverthorn, Arutha and his friends set out on a quest to find the antidote.
The story goes on to describe, on one hand, Arutha, Jimmy, Martin and Laurie traveling in search of the cure that'll save Anita, first to the library of Sarth abbey, then to Elvandar and finally to Moraelin, on the shores of the Black Lake in Moredhel territory, and on the other hand, Pug and his friends looking for an explanation to these mysterious events.
In this volume, the centre of attention has shifted from Pug to Arutha and Jimmy, whose characters are better developed and more believable. I really found this part more captivating than the previous ones, certainly because the goal was clearer, and I knew what the heroes were doing and why.
This report prepared by crooty
A sinister band of people and dark elves are involved in a plot led by the evil Murmandamus to kill Prince Arutha or Krondor, preparing the way for a dark power known as 'the Enemy' to take over the world. Arutha and his companions search for a plant called Silverthorn, the only thing that will save his wife, Anita, who has been poisoned by a dart intended to kill him. Meanwhile they do not know what this dark power is, and the magician Pug must try and find out, so they can find a way to counter it.
This report prepared by Legolas-S
Jimmy the hand, a young thief in Krondor crashes a plot by the assassins guild on Prince Arutha's life. As a reward for this and other things that Jimmy does his ties with the thieves guild are broken and he is given to the Prince as a squire. Jimmy saves Arutha again by knocking the assassin but the crossbow bolt struck Arutha's betrothed Anita and the tip was poisoned. Arutha embarks on a Quest with Jimmy and others including their Elf guide in search of the plant Silverthorn than is the only cure for the poison. They find the place but it is guarded by Murad and the Dark slayers, an evil organisation that can bring people back to life. Now the group must find the real place where the silverthorn is growing and get it back to Anita before she dies, also killing Murad on the way to stop his evil dark slayers. In the meantime Pug discovers a forgotten banch of the Elf family tree, the elder elves or "Elvardein" and decides to train with them for a year, learning magic and power that made his previous efforts look like cheap parlour tricks
This report prepared by Neil Morey