Shale knows of no other world than the desert. He knows that his life - and the lives of his family - depend on one thing and one thing only: water. Water is life for all the citizens of the Quartern and it is the Stormlord who brings the rains to the desert. But the magic is disappearing. The Stormlord's heirs lack the talent to bring the water from the distant seas and young students with a certain promise tend to die, mysteriously, out in the wastes. Shale may be the saviour of every life in the Quartern. He can do what no mere Rainlord can, and may be the newest, and the last, Stormlord - if he can learn to control the waters of life and, of course, if he lives that long. Shale's entire civilization stands at the brink of disaster. Water is life and the wells are going dry ...