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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 301

Aerin was not quite right as a king's daughter, tall, orange-haired, and a bit clumsy. Her mother, some said, was a woman from the North, a witch-woman. She would rather learn to use a sword than to dance. And at age eighteen, she still had not shown signs of her Gift, the almost magical psychic powers that were the hallmark of the royal family. While recovering from a nearly fatal dose of the royal surka plant, which she had eaten on a dare, Aerin discovers an ointment that protects her from dragon fire. She also befriends Talat, her father's old, lame warhorse and invents a new way to ride.

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Aerin's success in killing the small dragons that worry the countryside of Damar earns her a grudging respect from the court and genuine gratitude from the common folk. However, the country begins to be troubled by wars and the reappearance of Maur, a legendary Black Dragon, who devastates the countryside. Aerin slays the Black Dragon, but at terrible cost to her health.

A dream sends Aerin to seek healing from the wizard Luthe, who cures her dragon fire injuries and teaches her about her heritage—and about her late blooming but powerful Gift. He gives her Gonturan, an ancient sword with a great blue gem in the hilt. Luthe directs her to challenge her uncle, the wizard Agsded, the source of all the mischief against her country. He holds the Hero's Crown, the talisman that makes Damar invincible.

Aerin returns to Damar just in time to turn the tide of battle. She brings with her the sword Gonturan, the Hero's Crown, and an army of wild hill beasts. She has also conquered, with Luthe's help, her fear of love. Aerin finds her rightful place as Queen of Damar with her husband Tor.

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Characters