This is the third book in a series describing the war against the mistraith and the lives of two half brother princes. Each prince has magical powers and together they form the world's best defense but the mistwraith has cursed them to be enemies.
Arithon, prince of shadow returns to his shipyard at Merior to find his new ships burned by a former guardsman Tharrrick seeking revenge for punishments which he unjustly blames on Arithon. Arithon rescues Tharrick from the shipwrights and slowly convinces him that he is not the evil tyrant he is portrayed by his brother. Everyone struggles to complete two ships from the wreckage as Prince Lysaer's fleet approaches. Arithon escapes with one ship while Tharrick stages a rearguard diversion to try to escape with the second. Prince Lysaer enters the town and convinces the people that the man who has treated them honourably and well for the last year is evil.
Arithon travels to vastmark to seek a new army amongst the impoverished free shepherds. He rescues two children from a Wyvern though one dies despite his attempts to use his masterbard magic combined with that of Dakar the mad prophet. In the casting Dakar sees into Arithon's mind and begins to truly believe he is innocent of the crimes claimed by Lysaer prince of light.
Arithon arranges the kidnap and ransom of Lysaer's wife Talith who has foolishly decided to join her husband on campaign. He steals the gold enroute so managing to be paid twice over, while Talith too begins to believe Arithon is not evil. Lysaer can not accept this and his love for her disappears.
Arithon tries to stop the war by making a demonstration of slaughtering 500 men sent against him, returning 25 to tell of the disaster. Lysaer's general intercepts the men, and knowing they may cause Lysaer to halt his invasion, kills the witnesses. Lysaer attacks and his army is duly routed by tricks of mages Arithon and Dakar.
Dakar has a vision of Arithon being killed by a spelled arrow sent by Duke Bransion and the Koriani sorceress Moriell. He saves Arithon's life by taking the arrow himself, finally believing Arithon speaks the truth. Bransion and his brothers are captured, then convinced of Arithon's honour compared to Lysaer's deceptions which had brought them to the war on Lysaer's side.
This report prepared by David Pearce