Four years after we last saw the young mages Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar in the Circle of Magic quartet, Sandry is back. Now 14 years old, she is helping her great-uncle, Duke Vedris IV, ruler of Emelan, recover after a heart attack. But there's no rest for the weary mage. A mysterious murderer is afoot, and it quickly becomes clear that Sandry and her reluctant young protégé, Pasco, are the only ones who can stop the killings. Unfortunately, Pasco comes from a long line of harriers, or provost's guards, and his burly family does not think highly of a boy who dances magical spells. It takes some fancy footwork to convince Pasco of the need for his special brand of magic, and Sandry is just the girl for the job.