Tobin has been torn between two worlds his entire life. His mother, a young woman cast out from the desert clans, taught him the language and customs of the Roharian people. But Tobin has lived mostly within the Wanderling village of outcasts, where he and his sister Sarah are considered little more than slaves because of their heritage.
At last Tobin has found some good fortune serving as a lookout for his village – apprehending banished criminals and bringing them for induction to the Wanderling village. With his work he is finally able to earn enough rations for himself and Sarah to get by.
Tobin’s philosophy of keeping his head down and following orders comes into question, however, when the Wanderlings capture a young boy named Shem and his determined older sister Adala. He finds himself standing guard over these two innocent prisoners, confused by the strange talk of prophecies surrounding them and infuriated to be a part of holding them hostage when he knows they are blameless.
Before Tobin can get a handle on what he intends to do, Burano, the Wanderling leader, plucks him out of obscurity and makes him a designated interpreter for negotiations with the Roharian desert clans.
Apprehension grows inside Tobin as he realizes that Burano’s plan with Adala and Shem goes further than he ever imagined. How can he help Adala and Shem when he too is being watched every minute of the day by his trainer Jarod and by the calculating eyes of Burano?