Lady Lenodara of Westwood, called the Hawkmaiden – Dara, to her friends – has had an adventurous life: She tamed a falcon when she was 12, learned she had magical talent, discovered that she had a natural aptitude as a beastmaster, won her witchstone at the first Spellmonger’s Trial, became the junior apprentice to Minalan the Spellmonger, Magelord of Sevendor, mastered the ancient magic of the Thoughtful Knife, fought goblins and a dragon, and was made a noble and richly rewarded for her heroics.
Now that she’s safe back home in Sevendor, everything should go back to normal…right?
But a secret project with the Alka Alon Emissary, Ithalia, leads Dara to new troubles and adventures, as the Hawkmaiden assumes new responsibilities. Lady Ithalia wants to use magic to transform her falcon, Frightful, into a giant, so that she and other giant hawks can defend the Five Duchies against dragons in the air. Each hawk is to be ridden by a Sky Rider to aid the fight – and Dara is to be the first.
When Minalan purchases 20 hawks and hires a falconer to aid her efforts, Dara is tasked with building a mews to house them in the Westwood…and encounters her most difficult opponent yet: her father.
Hawkmaiden vs. Master of the Wood, father vs. daughter, Castle Folk vs. Woodfolk, Dara has to choose sides and made compromises in order to see her task completed without bothering the Spellmonger.
But fighting a dragon seems simple compared to challenging the Master of the Wood in his own land. With bandits milling around Sevendor and the threat of exposure for the giant falcon project, Dara has to learn new skills and understand an entirely different kind of magic if she’s to become the first Sky Rider!