Alexi leaves the house of his father and stepmother and rents an apartment. He wants to be independent and find his place in the world. But no basic changes ensue – he has the same friends, with the same trivial conversations and the same inactivity. Only the death of his favorite teacher, to whom the young man felt very close, really changes his habitual way of life. Alexi makes a decision: he refuses a place at a research institute and leaves for a teaching job at a village school, the same school his mentor used to work at.
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.