Long ago, the gods forged Twelve Swords of Power and threw them on the gameboard of life to watch men scramble. But they forged too well; the Swords could kill the gods themselves.
Now, the gods are gone, the Swords are scattered, the great Mindsword reenters the world of men. Long lost from human sight, the Sword of Glory brings mindless devotion to him who wields it. It is Crown Prince Murat of Culm who finds it.
Murat, basically a decent man, intends to give Mindsword to Princess Kristin of Tasavalta. Taken with the beautiful princess when he first met her years ago, Murat resolves to keep Mindsword sheathed until he lays it at her feet. But suddenly, faced with a band of Brigands, concerned for the safety of his son, Prince Carlo, Murat draws the sword.
Now the brigands—and his own son—give him the adulation usually reserved for gods. It is not a comfortable state of affairs. And there is worse to come.
The Princess herself falls under Mindsword's spell. Not at all what Murat wanted: slavish devotion is no substitute for freely given love.
Or is it? Murat finds that Kristin's adulation is not without its attractions...
Meanwhile, the great dark King, thought dead for a dozen years, senses the rediscovery of the Mindsword even in his madness, and forges an alliance with Akbal, a most untrustworthy demon, to regain the weapon.
And Prince Mark of Tasavalta, returning with Ben of Purkinje from a journey on behalf of the Emperor, finds that he must do battle for his beloved wife, for the kingdom, and perhaps for the soul of the world.