Zedd is captured by Denna. During the pursuit Richard is incapacitated by potentially lethal headaches brought on by the Gift(his latent ability as a Wizard) and must leave with the Sisters of the Light in order order to be trained. Kahlan and Cara are forced to continue with the pursuit without Richard while Richard attempts to reach the Palace of the Prophets in the old world.
Richard arrives at the Palace of the Prophets to begin his wizard training. He meets the beautiful and mysterious Sister Nicci who tells him that the other sisters are lying to him. Not knowing who to trust, Richard is forced into a dark alliance with Nicci while Kahlan, Zedd and Cara find and name a new Seeker in Richard's absence.
Trapped in the deadly Valley of Perdition, Richard's worst fears come magically to life and threaten to kill him, while the world's most powerful sorceress, Sister Nicci, plots to murder Kahlan; Cara's feelings for the new Seeker deepen.
A dead wizard from Aydindril appears. Zedd uses the wizard's amulet to go to Aydindril with Kahlan. Unfortunately, it splits Kahlan in two: with Zedd, a one with reason and powers, and with Richard and Cara, a one without either.
Cara meets with Darken Rahl and is forced to conceal a secret from her friends. Zedd's brother reappears, in the latest scam shop of the magical mapmaker we love to hate, and may have a solution for her.
Cara, Zedd and Richard get comical make-overs in an entertaining bid to save Kahlan from an egotistical King, who has converted all of his subjects, including his wife, to his own personal vision of "all that is Right and Good".
Zedd attempts to reverse the insidious dark magic Darken Rahl used to make Cara betray her friends, but the wizard's powerful spell instead drastically alters the lives of Richard, Kahlan and everyone else.