"FitzChivalry Farseer -- royal bastard and former king's assassin -- has left his life of intrigue behind. As far as the rest of the world knows, he is dead and buried. Masquerading as Tom Badgerlock, Fitz is now married to his childhood sweetheart, Molly, and leading the quiet life of a country squire. And though he is haunted by the disappearance of his uncanny friend, the Fool, who did so much to shape Fitz into the man he has become, such private hurts are put aside in the business of daily life. But the appearance of menacing, pale-skinned strangers suddenly casts a sinister shadow over Fitz's past -- and his future. Now, to protect his new life, the former assassin must once again take up his old one..."