The time is a vaguely medieval future beyond the Disaster, when machines are banned by a conspiracy of benevolent seers who control the kingdom in the name of nonexistent spirits. Luke Perry, the Prince in Waiting of the trilogy's first volume, has been displaced by his brother, who's married a Christian and given up warfare. Restless at the idle court, Luke accompanies an expedition to a distant land not visited since the Disaster. At first disgusted by the foreign court's effete ways, Luke becomes more tolerant and departs a hero after slaying a sort of giant amoeba that has terrorized the citizens. Only readers motivated by volume one will follow Luke to the more exciting later chapters, where he is captured by savages who live in treetops and plan to eat him at a festival, then imprisoned on his return home by a now unhinged brother, and finally made King after defeating his brother in a duel. As there is little psychological or thematic interest in the series, a strong plot and inventive futuristic setting are required. It is to be hoped that Luke's visit abroad represents a temporary lull, and that the final volume will relate the two kingdoms more imaginatively.