Ch1 – Talwin Hawkins returns to Roldem and there he meets Petro Amafi an assassin from Queg who fails to kill him whom Tal makes him a personal servant. He has also decide on how to start his service with Kaspar without suspicion which is by embarrassing a Prince of Roldem and have Kaspar intercede.
Ch2 – Tal goes to a reception of the King and he encounters Kaspar and is invited to a hunt.
Ch3 – On the hunt Tal saves Kaspar’s life from a bear and also begins his affair with his sister Natalia.
Ch4 – Tal gives Prince Mathew a session in dueling as his status as Champion of the Masters Court. He intentionally chooses heavy sabres and selects an endurance match. Tal humiliates Prince Matthew, brutally hitting him and in the end in front of the audience, gives him a spanking. This follows Tal's original plan, as to seem desperate for Kaspar’s help, which Kaspar owes him from being saved by the bear.
Ch5 – Tal starts his service with Kaspar. They go to Rillanon where they are received by King Ryan also Tal’s fictitious titles are reaffirmed by the King and a sword is given to him.
Ch6 – Tal is tasked to reconnoiter by Kaspar in Rillanon. He gives a demonstration to the Kings guard and he is confronted by Duke James of Krondor about his servant and his fictitious titles.
Ch7 – Tal’s Service starts officially in Olasko when he takes an oath to Kaspar.
Ch8 – His first mission for the Duke which is to deal with pirates in the Inaska region of Olasko. He manages to dispose of them and learns that they are actually solders of Salmatar he returns to Olasko where he explores the fortifications and discovers a secret back entrance through caves. Kaspar decides to force Salmatar to become part of the duchy of Olasko.
Ch9 – Tal is sent to Salmatar as an ambassador with orders to kill the princess while he delivers Kaspar’s ultimatum. Tal manages to kill the princess after they sleep together by giving her a slow acting poison that mimics a misleading fever, conjured by Amafi.
Ch10 – Tal is dispatched to Salador to establish his credentials and setup an assassination for Duke Rodoski of Roldem.
Ch11 – In Salador Tal reestablishes himself and also hires a man and his wife from Bas Tyra as cooks. There is another attempt on his life.
Ch12 – Tal is betrayed by Amafi on the instructions of Kaspar for the assassination of Duke Rodoski but he is spared by Rodoski and he is sent in chains to Kaspar. In reality Tal was sent as a bait, while another soldier from Kaspar's army was sent to do the real assasination. Tal is sentenced to prison on The Fortress of Despair- a prison on a desolate island by Kaspar on the pretense that he failed as a repayment for saving his life instead of being killed.
Ch13 – Tal begins serving his sentence on the island where his right hand is cut off as per instructions of Kaspar by the sergeant in charge- Zirga.
Ch14 – After a year in prison, the cook called Charles mysteriously dies and Tal exploits the opportunity by becoming the new cook and gaining a bit more freedom. Even when the new cook arrives he remains a cook because of his skill which gives him even more freedom and opportunity to plan and orchestrate an escape. Tal manages to move prisoners from the cold dungeon to the better-equipped cells upstairs as well as organising fresh air and exercise in honey raids.
Ch15 – A new prisoner arrives which turns out to be Captain Quint (former commander of Kaspar's army) which was also the timing for the escape. On the same night Tal and the other prisoners raided the armoury and assembled a raft for the escape from Tal’s preparations. During the escape a few prisoners die as a result of shark attacks. And more on their trek towards the nearest city Karesh’kaar. On the way there they encounter a slave caravan and they kill the guards and free the slaves which become the first recruits of Tal’s army.
Ch16 – In Karesh’kaar Tal makes contact with the Conclave and get money and a cure to restore his hand. The money are to hire mercenaries for the assault on Opardum.
Ch17 – Tal and Pug go to Rillanon to get aid from Isles where they are both persona non grata. But they manage to convince King Ryan in aiding the assault on Opardum by providing a diversion and drawing forces away from Opardum.
Ch18 – Tal and Pug go to Roldem where Tal is persona non grata and manage to convince King Carol and the Keshian ambassador to aid them in the assault with ships and Dog Soldiers respectively.
Ch19&20 – The assault on Opardum with Tal going through the caves in the back and Keshian solders attacking from the front. Tal goes after Leso Varen and manages to kill him by throwing a small black ball (given to him by Nakor to exercise his re-growing right hand) into his throat, crushing his windpipe and interrupting his incantation, and Tal snaps his neck. It ends with the capture of Kaspar in the throne room. Tal decides not to execute Kaspar but to exile him with the knowledge that he lost everything. Also the Conclave investigates the work of Varen. Tal rescues an Orosini girl (known to him by childhood called Eyes of the Blue Winged Teal) from slavery an takes her and her son to live with him.
Ch21 – Kaspar is deposited in Novindus by Magnus with nothing in a fairly deserted place. He sees riders approaching.