Jimmy the Hand, boy thief of Krondor, lived in the shadows of the city. The sewers were his byways and a flea-ridden, rat infested cellar his home. Although gifted beyond his peers, he was still but a nimble street urchin, a pickpocket with potential. Until the day he met Prince Arutha.
Aiding the Prince in his rescue of Princess Anita from imprisonment by Duke Guy du Bas-Tyra, Jimmy ran afoul of Black Guy's secret police. But his situation gets worse when he blatantly disregards the Upright Man's instruction to lie-low in order to rescue his fellow Mockers from the cruel reprisal of the Dukes henchmen.
Given the choice of disapearing on his own, or with the Upright Man's help - in a weighted barrel at the bottom of Krondor's harbour - Jimmy flees the only home he's ever known, and ventures south to the relatively safe haven of Lands End. Suspecting the rural villagers have never encountered a lad with his talent and nose for finding wealth - other peoples wealth, he's fairly optimistic about his broadening his horizons. But Jimmy is completely unprepared for what greets him.
For Lands End is home to others who tred the crooked path, and more, to a darker secret; a dangerous presence unknown to even the local thieves and smugglers. Jimmy's youthful bravado and courage plunge him deep into the maw of chaos and death.