In a desert world Rifkind is the daughter of a slain chief, Mistress of Healers, mother of a grown son, and a warrior who shapeshifts. She is a woman of many destinies who choses her own path regardless of the consequences. A practical woman with little tolerance for the prattling niceties many expect from a desert woman. She is plainspoken and gifted; tolerant with an impatience for those who prey on the weak or use their talents for harm. She is not a likable character but she is interesting, worthy of attention and respect.