Jarl Hawkins is an ex-geographer from the planet Earth, ex-partisan from the planet Jubal, and is now marooned on the planet Vanir-a backward world with sorcerers, black-powder weapons, nomad raiders, and a church seeking to become all powerful. He has lost track of his friend, the great wizard Kvasir Haroldson. Jarl is desperate to find another wizard who can help him get off Vanir and back to his home world. Instead, he discovers a witch who is one of the feared nomads. Kiska Ericson is a Sulfur Hills People and has been banished to the mountains for practicing her craft. Jarl befriends her, and together they search the Province of Cimarron, the Sabre Mountains, the secret Ghost Raider city of Jorvik, and the magical city of Vor for some word of Kvasir. While they journey throughout the country, the King of Vanir dies and Jarl' friend Will James is made king. Jarl and Kiska must return to the frontier province of Kettlewand to help Will James save his nation.