Born into a family of poor woods folk, the young Linden Foxbright Wilder is schooled early in herbal lore and other pursuits to do with daily survival of a family whose father has been killed. Surrounded by the love of sisters and mother, he thrives.
The idyllic life ends savagely one day when a regiment of the Queen comes looking for conscripts. Linden is taken to Kasina Nabir and apprenticed to the Royal Navy under the cruel Captain Lygon.
The daily regimen for cabin boys is hard, but nothing at sea endures for long. Soon Lygon’s ship, the mighty Ocean Avenger is imperilled by pirates. When Linden manages through a combination of luck and pluck to ingratiate himself, his eventual rise to the exalted position of Sea Captain is assured.
Yet again all is changed on Wilder’s first voyage as a Sea Captain when he gives chase to pirates in the feared and wild seas far to the north of Melen Darit.
Fate deals him a heavy blow, and all seems lost as he suffers yet more ill-fortune with an abominable curse cast on him by sea dragons. Told he can only gain release from the curse by destroying the dreaded Djinn of Margun, he ventures further into danger to join battle with this terrifying demon.
But the Djinn lies in an impenetrable fortress of its own making, and it has never been bested. The venture goes badly, and Wilder’s quest swiftly shifts from seeking cure to a desperate struggle for simple survival.