Expert archer/hunter Rhinan is haunted by ghosts since the tragic death of his parents. Thinking himself mad or a danger, he leads a solitary but mischievous life. When his reckless actions draw the attention of the oppressive king of Lydania, who has banned magic and weapons, he finds himself on the run from the ruthless general, Gethor Dran. Left only a magic gem and an unusual sword (both outlawed) by his parents, he must learn of his mysterious heritage if he hopes to survive.Silarrah, dear to him like no other, is captured by Dran and interrogated by the king. But she is mysteriously rescued by a secret cabal at the Lore College, where the knowledge of the divine Lore Givers is shared. Their interest in Rhinan (they believe he is in some way important to restoring magic to Lydania) leads her to revelations about him, and even more surprisingly about herself.As he flees toward the dead and distant lands where the lost Ylvan Clans once dwelled, Rhinan is joined by his loyal hunting companion - a beardog, plus a disapproving village guard, a Hegana teacher/warrior (the secret sect dedicated to restoring magic to Lydania), a rock gnome (called "rock walkers" for their ability to travel into stone at one place and exit another stone far away), his troubadour friend, and others - including the ever-present ghosts. Facing dangers both from General Dran and in the wild, some will pay the ultimate price on his behalf. But the secret of the gem, its connection to the lost clans, and Rhinan's own fate may prove to be the most dangerous of all.