A small and sadly untried coterie - the old assassin Chade, the serving-boy Thick, Prince Dutiful, and his reluctant Skilmaster, Fitz - Sail towards the distant island of Aslevjal. There they must fulfil the Narcheska's challenge: to lay the head of the dragon Icefyre, whom legends tell is buried there deeps beneath the ice, upon her hearth. Only then can their marriage proceeds, and put an end to war between the two kingdoms.
Having abandoned the Fool in Buckkeep. Fitz is guilt-stricken; but determined to keep the fate of his beloved friend at bay, since prophecy foretells the Fool's death if he ever sets foot on the isle of the black dragon, But as their ship draws in towards Aslevjal a lone figure awaits them....
'Robin Hobb's books are like diamonds in a sea of zircons' GEORGE R R MARTIN
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