Hump, complacent Ambrose, King of Phar-Tracil, wakes one morning--not in his soft bed in the palace, not with his lovely wife beside him, but in the middle of a wilderness, his only companion a funny-looking, knowing imp who enjoys reproving Ambrose and refuses to tell him what's going on. Instructed by the imp, Ambrose searches for his palace and painfully learns to fend for himself, shedding fat and acquiring muscles in the process. And, through several eye-opening confrontations, Ambrose realizes how shamefully he has neglected his kingdom by allowing his greedy barons to oppress the people and run things as they please. Meanwhile, Ambrose's handsome wife Maldive also wakes to peculiar circumstances: she finds herself in the body of a mangy red palace cat--from which viewpoint she learns what the servants really think of her; and she overhears the barons plotting to overthrow Ambrose. Yet another member of the royal family, minstrel son Isme, wakes in the magical Isle of the Blessed--and has a number of very strange adventures, indeed. What's going on? Well, it's all part of court sorcerer Judah Hila's plan to shake Ambrose out of his fatal complacency, warn the king via Maldive of the plot against him, and transfrom Isme--who has plenty of innate magical ability--into a capable sorcerer, so that Hila can retire. A light, fresh, charming, and unpretentious fantasy-parable--and a mature, auspicious debut.