The plot centers around old Beethoven's fixation on the welfare of his nephew, for whom he fought a lengthy custody battle against his brother's former wife. Beethoven thought she was a bad influence on the boy. Sadly, the nephew isn't receptive to Beethoven's "overtures", and resents his boorish uncle's efforts on his behalf. The nephew is a complete nonentity, lacking in both interest and talent. He seems to wish only to be left alone.
Taran is an assistant pigkeeper with boyish dreams of becoming a great warrior. However, he has to put the daydreaming aside when his charge, an oracular pig named Hen Wen, is kidnapped by an evil lord known as the Horned King.
Joan Wilder is thrust back into a world of murder, chases, foreign intrigue... and love. This time out she's duped by a duplicitous Arab dignitary who brings her to the Middle East, ostensibly to write a book about his life.