On the remote island kingdom of Argylle, the powerful, immortal sorcerer Prince Prospero plans his revenge against his usurping brother, the Emperor Avril of Landuc. A third brother, Prince Gaston, is Avril's Imperial Marshall. Meanwhile, Prospero's unsorcerous and unworldly daughter, Freia, upset at her father's preparations for war and wishing to assert her independence, flies off on her pet gryphon. And another sorcerer, young Dewar, having studied the two known sources of magicMorven's Stone of Blood, and Landuc's Well of Firehas deduced the existence of an unknown Third Force, and determines to seek it out. Many an adventure each of these characters will have, in a plot impossible to summarize. Eventually, though, Prospero, learning that Dewar is his son, surrenders to Gaston, is betrayed by Avril, and escapes with Dewar's aid and the honorable Gaston's connivance, while Freia and Dewar get themselves into and out of all manner of scrapes, and Dewar discovers his missing magic: Argylle's Spring. A deftly handled, alluring, and amusing escapadethe few inconsistencies, and the rather more numerous flabby patches, aren't the problem. Fans of Willey's debut novel (The Well-Favored Man, 1993) will recall a certain immortal, sorcerous family from Argylle: grandfather Prospero, his son Gaston, the latter's wife Freia, uncle Dewar.... What, readers are entitled to ask, is going on? It's all puzzling and very confusing, to say the least.