Another expansive yarn set in the fantasy world of Mithgar, occurring this time in the First Age, thousands of years before the events in McKiernan's last outing, The Eye of the Hunter (1992). Here, the Mage Alamar is visited by Jinnarin, a diminutive and magical Pysk, a race long vanished from the ken of other beings; Alamar owes the Pysks a great debt. It seems that Farrix, Jinnarin's mate, has gone missing after observing some astonishing auroras. Jinnarin, convinced that Farrix is in terrible danger, has had wrenching dreams of a green sea, a crystal castle, and a black ship. So Alamar must enlist the aid of the legendary Elf, Aravan, who in his magical ship has sailed all the seas of Mithgar for 3,000 years in voyages of derring-do. Aravan agrees to help. Many adventures later, they discover that Farrix is a prisoner of the Black Mage, Durlock, who not only worships the evil god Gyphon but receives orders from him. Durlock steals the astral fire from his sacrificial victims, thus augmenting his enormous power; not even the combined efforts of the good Mages can contain him. Yet, somehow, Mages, Elves, Pysks, Dwarves, and Men must find a way to defeat him, lest Gyphon win his ages-old struggle with the good god Adon. Fairly standard stuff: without originality or particular charm, it just seems to meander on forever. Evidently, the formula to please McKiernan fans.