While an epidemic rages and a strangler stalks the streets of the city, Luskell trains and works as a healer, but she aspires to greater power. Though everyone knows girls can’t become wizards, she persuades Wizard Bardin to make her his apprentice. Luskell leaves the city on a quest for new magic and to explore mysteries that have more to do with love and desire. But the strangler follows her. She must gain the trust of old friends and an unexpected ally if she's going to stop the murderer before he strikes again.