Teenage Zastra is a big disappointment to her father, Leodra, ruler of Golmeira, because she hasn't got what it takes to become a mindweaver. Golmeira relies on its mindweavers, men and women who can manipulate the thoughts of others, to subdue its enemies. Zastra is still determined to prove herself worthy of her father's respect, but it isn't easy when Leodra invites her uncle Thorlberd and his son Rastran to stay at Golmer Castle. Rastran is an unpleasant bully and Zastra feels fully justified in using her well-developed fighting skills to defend herself and her friends, only to incur her father's anger once more. In the middle of the night, Zastra is roused to discover that her father has been betrayed. Golmer Castle is swarming with soldiers, and the skies above it filled with monstrous flying beasts. As the battle turns against him, Leodra finally turns to Zastra and charges her with the care of her infant siblings. She escapes with the twins through the castle's ancient underground tunnels, only to be faced with a terrible choice. Hunted across the turbulent landscape of Golmeira, Zastra must rely on her wits and the help of strangers as she tries to outrun the powerful forces set upon her trail.