The second in the thrilling new fantasy series.
Fitz and the Fool have succeeded in rescuing Prince Dutiful from the clutches of the Piebald rebels, and returned him to Buckkeep Castle. But once again the cost of protecting the Farseer line has been dear: Nighteyes is dead. Unable to bear his loss, Fitz retreats into his role as manservant to "Lord Golden", but with the arrival of an unexpected visitor even his lifelong bond with the Fool is placed in jeopardy.
Outside the castle walls, Queen Kettricken's tolerance of the Witted is generating hostility against the Farseer throne. Inside, a reluctant Fitz is assigned to protect Dutiful and, at the urging of the mercurial old assassin, Chade, take on the mantle of Skillmaster. As Fitz and Chade decipher the mysteries of the ancient Skill scrolls, Fitz's efforts to locate Skill-users for Dutiful's coterie attract some unlikely, and potentially dangerous, recruits . . .
Kettricken's plans to marry Prince Dutiful to the Outislander princess, Elliania, can now proceed, securing a lasting peace with the former enemies of the Six Duchies. But before Elliania will accept Dutiful's proposal, she challenges him to undertake an impossible quest. He and his newly formed coterie must travel to the Out Islands and slay a legendary Outislander dragon.