Outcast Trader Daja, along with her fellow mages-in-training, journeys from Winding Circle to the Gold Ridge Mountains, where drought threatens widespread famine. There, Daja creates an astonishing object: a living metal vine. A caravan of Traders covets the vine, and Daja's dealings with her former people reawakens a longing for familiar ways.
Daja must choose - should she return to the Traders or remain with the Winding Circle folk who have become her family?
Now that the students have learned more control they are venturing out with their teachers. The north has faced severe drought and the Duke is trying to see what he can do to help. The whole group is there, and their connections to each other have only grown. Their magic is seeping out through their friends and it is getting dangerous. On top of that this land filled with drought is facing its first major fires in years. If the fire catches it could be disastrous but the local mage believes he cannot fail. He has a terrible ego and being around the famous mages just makes it worse. The mix of magics is causing chaos and at the same time Daja is having to face Trader folk for the first time since her banishment. At first you hate them but then you grow to like the liason. It has always been hardest for Daja to leave her old life behind, but now we truly see her torn between her desires. I like that we make her choose because if she were to always wonder she would never truly settle. So far this is my favorite book in the series. I also just love smith magic.