Kaster Leckery, estranged from his brother-in-law, the Dragon Lord Valraven Palindrake, and increasingly bitter about the Magravandian princes who constantly scheme and plot to take the throne of the empire, finally tips over the edge and, determined to die, runs into the mountain battle zone. He comes across a dying old man who seizes him and spits something into his face – and suddenly Khaster is no longer himself: the dying man spat his own destiny into him and now Khaster is Taropat, a Breeland mage, determined to ensure the "child of destiny" foretold by the mages would arise and overthrow the empire.
But that child has been found and killed, so Taropat, believing that such people can be made, not just born, chooses Shan, orphaned by the Magravandian army, to turn into his warrior-mage hero. Together, and accompanied by a motley group, all with secrets and each with his or her own reason for overthrowing Magravandias, they must face the trial of the Seven Lakes if they are to retrieve the Crown of the true king and vanquish the empire.
Storm Constantine (1956–2021) was a British science fiction and fantasy author, primarily known for her Wraeththu series, which began as one trilogy but has spawned many subsequent works. Beginning in the 1980s, Constantine's short stories appeared in dozens of genre fiction magazines and anthologies. She was the author of over 30 published novels and non-fiction books (often examining issues of sex and gender), plus numerous other publications, including magical grimoires. Her debut novel, The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, and subsequently her work was nominated for the British Science Fiction Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Locus Award, and the Otherwise Award. In addition to her