Survival along Therk's seedy coast is precarious. Hounds rule the streets with fear and fists. Former highwaymen now call themselves Merchants. Spices, rare since the desert swallowed the Spice Way, are forbidden to all but the wealthy and powerful. Ethen's ability to Find lost objects has helped him survive in this world; now, it's going to make him rich. The Merchant Juddah Luash has offered him a fortune, but not for an object he wants Found. Juddah wants Ethen to Find a person, the escaped slave, Zihariel.
Returning to the Vale after six years at university, Linhare is thrust into the long-standing grudges and precarious alliances that maintain her realm. But there is more to this balance of peace and prosperity than political intrigue. Ambition. Secrets. And a terrible deed, glossed over by history - a deed, recorded in a scarred, red journal, that should have remained forever secret. Wait's secret.