All the orphaned Daine wants when she comes to Tortall is a job. What she finds is magic in many forms, an ongoing war with creatures from legends and nightmares, a new home and, eventually, her unknown father.
Hired by the Queen’s Riders to help with their horses, she learns her knack with animals is a rare magic which helps her to communicate with the animal kingdom.
With that discovery she becomes the student–then friend and sometimes protector–of the great mage Numair. He also helps her to develop her second magical skill, the ability to sense the presence of the immortals, fabled creatures who have come to mortal lands after a long imprisonment.
All these changes in Daine’s life bring her new human friends as well as animal ones: Tortall’s rulers, Alanna the Lioness, the heir to the throne of imperial Carthak, a pygmy marmoset, and the badger god. Often she comes into contact–and sometimes conflict–with Stormwings–half human, half steel birds; dragons; spidrens–giant furred spiders with human heads and an appetite for human flesh; griffins; and the clawed, winged horses called hurroks.
Daine is kept on the move as she grows into adulthood and her power, coming to terms with her world and her strange, mixed parentage.