Fourteen-year-old Beck Conleth is living a quiet life in the seaside town of Queen's Weather when his grandmother sends him on a journey to Ulfwood to retrieve his father's bones and a family dagger. After reaching Ulfwood, Beck discovers the dagger is magical, and that it answers only to him. Soon the enchanted dagger and its owner attract the attention of dark mages, goblins, and worse.
Helped on his journey home by Wisewomen, warriors, shape-changers, and the other good folk of Lifthrasir, Beck faces death, danger, and the theft of his dagger . Accompanied by his best friend, Beck stows away on a ship, takes back his dagger, befriends a dragon, and escapes with a troop of thieves. After reaching a dock in West Arnora, the company heads for the fortress of Ravens Haunt. As Beck and his companions face a hideous Skullsoul and an army of ogrehunches, he realizes there is a developing confrontation between good and evil, and he and his enchanted dagger have a role to play.