Javik lives in a country surrounded by mountains and covered in old growth forest. His ambition is to become a warrior like his father, Tolda, but he must pass Mauhad before he can realize that ambition. When is father is killed saving the others in his raiding party, Javik despairs of ever reaching that goal without his father’s training. Goldar, who led the raid when Tolda was killed, convinces the King to allow Javik to train with Tao Shan, the finest mentor in the kingdom. Javik finds himself among the sons of the wealthy and must adjust to the situation quickly. While in training he encounters a girl in the forest. She is Allana an escaped slave, but Javik falls in love with her. He convinces her to come out of hiding, and she teaches the sling to Tao Shan’s students.
The time for Mauhad arrives, and Javik uses Allana’s cave hideout to help elude the warriors sent to find him, but must leave it when those warriors close in on him. He wanders into enemy territory and is captured by Grucheaux, Allana’s old master who also happens to be the man who killed his father. Javik lures Grucheaux into Javik’s country where his Mauhad pursuers rescue him. During the fight, Javik manages to kill Grucheaux which makes Allana his property. He offers her freedom, and they agree to marry in spite of his adopted father’s objections to Javik marrying a slave girl. Before the situation can be resolved, Javik must go off to war. Allana vows to wait for him, but when he returns she is gone.
The story continues in the next book, Love and War and concludes in Queen of Gorgos.