The Mont Cants, rulers of Canys (one of seven kingdoms on a vast island), were not warlike or despotic or treacherous; they had maintained their power for hundreds of years without wars or reigns of terror. Yet they were dangerous, the Princess Sereniel of the Kingdom of Bran said, because they had a magic, a sort of enchantment, about them. But to Rhian Mont Cant, who assumed the throne at seventeen when his father died, the magic seemed less powerful than the evils that rose to plague him. First his twin brother Talwy left home, and it seemed he was seeking a way to steal the throne, possibly with the aid of a dark sorcerer. Then the Princess of Bran, who was to have married Rhian, fell in love with someone else. The War Lord of Canys defected. And Rhian's chief advisor was forced to leave as well. Finally Rhian himself was driven from his kingdom by warriors from Armei, the most powerful of the seven kingdoms. Yet good things happened too. Rhian's brother Pinwy ran away, but came back chastened and helpful. Rhian found a new bride, one who might be more helpful to him in the end. Most of all, he found himself gradually acquiring the approval of the seven Fates that guided and guarded the seven kingdoms--and as he found himself harried from his land and moving into a trap set by Talwy, he discovered that could mean a great deal.