Coryn has brought the ember to the great tree and been welcomed as king. It seems a golden age is dawning in the world of owls. But all that is golden is not necessarily good. Soren, Twilight, Gyfie, and Digger will face their biggest challenge yet. The young king, haunted by the suspicion that haggish blood flows in his veins, disappears for nights at a time to hunt for the truth, and his nocturnal wanderings imperil himself and the good guardians who travel with him. Back at the tree, all seems well, but the influence of the ember is strong--and strange. The tree changes, as do the guardians left to govern in the absence of Soren and the king. Otulissa alone objects and her outspokenness puts her in grave danger. Someone must get word to Soren and the Band. But who?