This book is the second volume in the Dané series, following "Flesh and Spirit". Renegade sorcerer and mapmaker Valen Cartamandua was recaptured and punished by his family. His ultimate punishment is his new employer, rather described as his owner since Valen is bound to his will by means of his contract. But when Valen learns who really is the one he develops a fierce loyality that doesn't even stop where his life is in charge. This book to me was even better than the first, maybe because all the slow world - building and introduction of staff was out of the way and the author could foucus on telling her story. I found the beings she created, the Dané, a fantastic treat and greatly enjoyed meeting them and getting to know them together with Valen. Wonderful story twists (although a bit predictable at times since Berg occasionally uses stereotypes) and a colorful and enthralling storytelling engulfed me into the story and made me sigh longingly when I had to close the book after I finished it. Greatly recommended for dreamers, children at heart and reality escapees.