This independently intelligible sequel to Arrows of the Sun (1993) is the fifth yarn about the god-king Mirain the Sunborn and his heirs. This time, on the other side of the world, a mysterious, malign power destroys one of the emperor Estarion's magical Gates, along with its guardian. To investigate this and, hopefully, establish trading relations with the remote, mountain-ringed land of Su-Shaklan, Estarion sends his chief mage, Vanyi, and some helpers escorted by Olenyas warriors; strictly against orders, his magical granddaughter, Daruya, and her daughter, Kimeri, also tag along. The visitors must unravel a subtle web of plots, diplomacy, and magic to discover their enemy and forge new alliances. An intriguing and rewarding addition to a series that continues to improve and impress.