Although magic exists in the Elder Isles, Murgen, the most powerful wizard, has decreed that no magician can aid a kingdom. The kings must use their own wiles to advance their goals.
Suldrun, the daughter of King Casmir of Lyonesse, is ignored by her parents. She grows up as a free spirit and finds happiness in her private garden. Eventually, however, she gets caught up in her father’s political ambitions and schemes. He intends to have her wed Faude Carfilhiot, the lord of a strategic castle. Suldrun, sensing evil in Carfilhiot, flees to her garden, thus embarrassing her father. As punishment, Casmir exiles her to her garden for the rest of her life.
While Suldrun lives in her garden, Prince Aillas of Troicinet, a kingdom at war with Lyonesse, goes on a journey with his cousin Trewan, the heir apparent. During the trip, Trewan learns that his own father has died and that Aillas now is in direct line for the throne. Trewan tosses Aillas overboard. Aillas is washed up on the shores of Suldrun’s garden. She rescues him, and they fall in love. Planning to escape, they force a priest to marry them. The priest, however, betrays them to Casmir, who imprisons Suldrun and throws Aillas into a deep pit.
Nine months later, Suldrun gives birth to a son. With the help of her old nurse, she hides the boy. Casmir discovers that Suldrun has given birth and searches for the child. Unknown to him, the boy, Dhrun, has been snatched by a fairy and a changeling, Madouc, put in his place. Casmir brings the changeling home to rear as his granddaughter. Suldrun kills herself. Aillas eventually escapes Casmir’s well, only to be captured by the Ska, another of the peoples of the Isles. He eventually escapes again and continues on the quest to find Dhrun.
Dhrun grows up in the fairy shee much faster than he would in mortal time. The fairies eventually expel him but give him several gifts. He also is tricked into being cursed with seven years of bad luck. He goes on a journey and enjoys several adventures with his companion Glyneth. A dryad curses him with blindness, and Glyneth and Dhrun try to find someone to help cure him. They eventually join Dr. Fidelius, a disguised Shimrod, a young wizard wronged by Faude Carfilhiot. They travel the fairs looking for a cure for Dhrun and vengeance for Shimrod. They eventually have the curse removed from Dhrun, and Shimrod discovers that it was...
(The entire section is 988 words.)