Fitz is about to discover the truth about the Fool's prophecy. Having been resurrected from his fatal tortures in Regal's dungeons, Fitz has once more foiled Regal's attempts to be rid of him. Now, back in his own body and after months of rehabilitation, Fitz begins the painful and slow process of learning the ways of a man again. Under the watchful eye of Burrich, old King Shrewd's Stable master, Fitz must learn to cast off the wild but carefree ways of the wolf and enter once more the human world: a world beset ever more viciously by the relentless Red Ship Raiders who are now left free to plunder any coastal town they please. But more immediately, a world in which he finds he is utterly alone. Regal has stripped the kingdom of its riches and retired to the inland city of Trade ford. Of Verity, on his quest to find the legendary Elderings, there has been no word, Molly, Kettricken and the Fool have all vanished. Unless Fitz can find Verity and help him in his quest, the Six Duchies will perish and there will be no safe place to live.