A woman with magical powers starts a long and arduous journey not knowing what is to come.
The wizard Gurdyman, with whom Lassair has been living and studying in Cambridge in 1093, tells her that they must travel to Spain and sends her to her fenland home to pack her belongings, including the shining stone that reveals visions. Lassair wonders whether the trip is an effort to cheer her up after she’s lost the two loves of her life, Rollo to death and lawman Jack Chevestrier to stubbornness (The Rufus Spy, 2018). Before she and Gurdyman board the first of several ships that will take them to Spain, she visits her parents and her grandfather Thorfinn, from whom she’s inherited some of her powers and the shining stone. Gurdyman says that he wants to visit his own parents’ graves in Galicia, but Lassair suspects that he has other reasons for the trip. The owners of the inn that was once his parents’ greet the visitors with caution and even dislike, evoking memories of Gurdyman’s early brilliance and his determination to travel far to learn more. Using money Rollo left her, Lassair, noting Gurdyman’s failing health, buys a pony and cart for transport. After almost dying from poisoned water, both are rescued and taken to the City of Pearl, a haven for people of every religion. Gurdyman agrees to send Lassair to a magnificent cave in a high mountain region, where she’s tutored by Luliwa in the magical arts. Back in England, a man is found dead outside Gurdyman’s house,, a pearl clutched in his hand. Jack teams up with Lassair’s uncle Hrype to hunt down the wraithlike person who searched the house. Afraid for Lassair’s life, the pair engage Thorfinn and his ship to follow her. Much will be revealed but even more left for the next chapter in Lassair’s life.
A host of minor mysteries enliven this magical tour of mystical lands.