Horris Kew, conjuror and confidence-trickster, has returned to the Magic Kingdom of Landover, and a chorus of disapproval immediately assaults Ben Holiday's ears. Both Questor Thews, the Court Wizard, and Abernathy, the Court Scribe (currently, magically transformed into a dog) urge Ben to lock him up or exile him. Fair as ever, Ben decides to consider the problem rather than act immediately. Alas, this leads to disaster, for Horris's return is not what it seems, and Ben soon finds himself in deadly peril. Only his lady, Willow, holds the means to save him. But Willow has disappeared on a mysterious mission of her own...