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This novel takes place many years after the events in CASTLE OF DECEPTION, and Kevin, the hero of that tale, is now a very old man. His mentor the Dark Elf Naitchal is still going strong, however, and is training new apprentices. The Dark Ilf's latest apprentice is the King's own son, Alaire.
Alaire is an apt pupil, but before he has had a chance to master the secrets of Bardic power, he and Naitachal are sent by the King on a dangerous diplomatic mission to the kingdom on the country's northern border. That country, Suinomen, has banned magec for years and now is making preparations for war. Their job is to find out why their previously peaceful neighbor is making war noises, discover what's behind it, and to stop it.
But there's a catch--they can't use their innate Bardic magic. Unlicensed magic use in Suinomen earns the wielder a sentence in the Prison of Souls, a punishment which not only takes the magic user off the streets, but which takes all the magic out of the prisoner.
This novel is set in the universe of the popular role playing computer game THE BARD'S TALE.