Nicolas Rathe is a pointsman, a dedicated watchman in the great city of Astreiant. During the annual trade fair, with a city filled with travelers and merchants, someone is stealing children. The populace is getting angry and frightened and convinced that a foreigner must be to blame. Rathe calls on the aid of both an out-of-work soldier, the handsome Philip Eslingen, and the necromancer Istre b'Estorr.
The events of Midsummer have hardly been forgotten by the Fall Balance, and Nicolas Rathe can hardly complain that they've done any harm to his reputation, or to the reputation of the Points in general. However, it has meant that he's more in demand as an investigator, and the increased recognition and workload has made it hard to pursue friendship, or anything more, with Philip Eslingen, his comrade in the rescue of the stolen children.