Back in her adopted village of Bassorah, Vancy has recovered from her adventure on the Hinterland. With her friends, Kerei and Squirt, she has found out where she came from, and taken a stand against her birth father, the tyrant Herit. But on the night of her coming-of-age party, disturbing news reaches Bassorah. Herit has called for his daughter to join him in his great stone fortress, or Bassorah will face the full force of his anger. It seems a new evil is gathering across the wide plains of the Hinterland . . .