Mouse knows no other life than as a slave in this alternate Celtic-Scottish land, but there is more to him than that. He has strange dreams in which he takes lessons in sword fighting. His waking life is harsh, but it does not crush his heart and soul. Fortunately he has the gift to heal himself of the beatings he receives.
One night though Mouse finds his opportunity to escape such brutalities. A new world opens up for the young man after a mysterious stranger rescues him from a bounty hunter. Mouse appreciates the kindness but wonders who this man is and why he aided him. The man, by name of Cullin, slowly reveals the answers to Mouse's many questions. Cullin tells him what Mouse already intuitively knew: he was not born a slave. Cullin tells him of the life he had before that a head injury robbed Mouse's memories of.
After Mouse learns his true name, Kian, and his relation to Cullin, he takes up the man's trade with him as a guard of merchant caravans. He also learns he can use his healing gift on others when he aids a young girl.
Several contented years pass with Cullin, as the man sharpens Kian's skill with a blade. The young man uses his natural abilities to help even the score of a lone boy fighting against three men, only to discover the boy is no boy at all, but a young woman, Kerri, who is not at all pleased Kian intervened on her behalf. They argue so well you know they are just made for each other.
Kerri is on a mission to find a missing grandson of a Prince of her people. Her father sent her to seek Cullin's aid. Kian's blade, taken by him from the bounty hunter who tried to kill him, intrigues her mightily. She wonders how he got such a special weapon and because he has it, wonders if indeed he is the one she seeks. She does not know the name or appearance of this mystery person, but she is certain she will recognize him once she finds him. She also awakens him to the unwelcome knowledge he has magic in his blood. This he is loath to contemplate as exposure to it makes him nauseous or actually ill.
Kian continues his vivid sword fighting dreams with an added twist of fighting an enemy who can cause him true harm. After he wakes, his arm still bears the wound he received.
To help Kerri in her quest, Kian challenges the sword he carries to show him where the prince is. Though he thinks it ridiculous to talk to a weapon as if it were alive, it answers him in no uncertain terms. He, Cullin, and Kerri must now keep ahead of their enemies, who seek them and the Prince as well.
During Kian's adventures, he saves a young boy's life, whose father is an enemy of Kian, Cullin and Kerri, and who tells Kian, the boy will grow up as his enemy as well. The young man acknowledges he knew this before he rescued the boy, yet he still chose to do it. I loved that.
Many more perils await Kian, where he meets both grief and joy.
I loved this great book, especially the bantering and the bond between the main three people. I definitely recommended it if you want to read a wonderful fantasy with a solid plot and marvelous characters. You wouldn't want to meet the bad guys in a dark alley though, unless the good guys with their swords were at your side. As this is just the beginning of Kian's story, I look forward to reading more about him!