Guided by the dragon Tintaglia, they came from the sea: a Tangle of serpents fighting their way up the Rain Wild River, the first to make the perilous journey in generations.
For Thymara, a Rainwilder born with scales and claws, the return of the dragons symbolises the return of hope to her war-torn world. Leftrin, captain of the liveship Tarman, also has an interest in the hatching; as does newlywed, Alise Finbok, who has made it her life's work to study dragons.
But the creatures which emerge from the cocoons are a travesty of the dragons of old. Soon they become a danger to all: it is decided that they must be moved. Far up river lies the legendary Elderling city of Kelsingra. Perhaps there the dragons will find their true home.
However, if the dragons are to get there, a band of dragon keepers must be recruited to attend them. None are expected to return, or even survive. But Thymara is certain it is her destiny...