Prince Corin has more freedom than most youngsters his age, but he feels restrained by his family s expectations. He hates being trained how to handle a sword or spending time with his mother selling vegetables at the market. He even resents the time he has to spend caring Star, the kingdom s precious Luck Dragon. He wants to be left alone to follow his own interests. He even strikes up a relationship with a marketplace magician, whom his mother tells him he cannot trust and must stay away from. Then Corin s cousin Elinor comes to live with them, following the death of her parents. This turns his world upside down. Elinor does not trust Corin. He had played practical jokes on her when they were younger, and she is not even ready to believe that he has the ability to speak with the dragon. Not many days after arriving, Elinor is kidnapped and Star takes Corin to the rescue, forcing him to access sides of himself that he is reluctant to acknowledge. This draws the cousins closer, but they still continue to bicker. Before the Queen has a chance to present Elinor at court, she overhears two men plotting against the crown who then threaten her if she ever speaks of what she has heard. Corin dismisses her suspicions, since one of the men was captain of army, whose loyalty is unquestioned. To keep Elinor safely out of the way, Star suggests that she join Corin for their daily training exercises by the river. To Corin s surprise, Elinor takes to the training and already has skills that surpass his. This motivates him to try harder, and the two add competition at arms to their growing rivalry. It is not long before Elinor is able to convince Corin that her suspicions are founded. All this time, both Corin and Elinor have continued their relationship with the marketplace magician. Corin s parents warn him to stay away, suspecting that he may be behind the mysterious malaise that has overcome Star. Harsh words pass between father and son, both expressing sentiments they later regret speaking. The cousins are split, not wanting to be disobedient, and at the same time, trusting that the magician can help them. One day after market, the cousins are ambushed and Elinor is again carried away and stowed in the hold of a riverboat. Corin tracks the kidnappers down and in the deep of night rescues his cousin. In their flight, they are rescued from pursuit in an unexpected encounter with the marketplace magician. The magician, Thos, introduces them to his community of free spirits, the Enclave. He warns the cousins to keep their true identity secret, since the royal family is not popular among the residents. Their return to Gladur Nock is delayed because Elinor had injured her ankle during their escape. While staying in the Enclave, Corin s eyes are opened to the mistrust and animosity his family and even Star are viewed by those who consider themselves disenfranchised. Thos shows him his workshops where the people process a flammable oil called naphtha. Corin begins to understand the needs of these people and sympathizes with their goals. Thos is called away, and tells the cousins to remain until he summons them. When the message arrives, Corin realizes he must take action to derail the plot against his family and reconcile the differences with the alienated population. Before leaving, he reveals his true identity and strikes a shaky bargain with the leaders of the Enclave. In the meantime, the king has vanished, searching for the lost cousins. The queen, in desperation, accepts an offering of peace from to the king to the north with whom they have long been at war. Together with her personal guard, she travels to a peace summit. However, once arrived, she is taken captive and told they will burn her as a witch. Unbeknownst to her, the king sits in the dungeon, captured while searching for their son. Elinor and Corin arrive at this very stronghold, and the king rejoices that he can now destroy them all. Knowing that the dragon will fly to their rescue, he has devised a tar pit in which Star is entrapped and slowly engulfed. Corin, Elinor and the king, however, escape and arm themselves. They fight to reach the queen who is bound to a stake to be burned. They fight against impossible odds, when suddenly an army from the Enclave arrives and utilizes the naphtha they produce to fight against the larger force. Yet even with their flame-throwers, they are no match against the king s army. At the last moment, Michael s captain arrives leading a force that takes the field. Corin saves Star from a tarry end, and after proving himself on the field of battle, using his skills at sewing to attend to the wounded. He had been under the physician s guidance all along. Thos is revealed to be Aga, who had appeared to keep an eye on the young prince and the dragon. He convinces the king to let Corin travel with him and learn about the wider world. Elinor discovers an uncanny connection to Star and happily remains behind to be his caretaker."