In part one of the trilogy, Mikal, a blacksmith's son, enjoys working with fiery metal in his father's forge. But when the sorcerers' Guild of Constant Working comes to his small village for a Gleaning, the young boy's destiny is changed forever. Mikal begins a life of servitude at the Guild and soon learns of the magical world around him. Before long, he is apprenticed to the most powerful wizard in all of Phalia—Master Harlano. Mikal's new Master commands an army of wizards, but even he must answer to the mysterious rulers of the Guild. But when Harlano pursues a strange ambition of his own, will Mikal follow his Master—or stand against him? With help from his scruffy friend Lyra and a magical metal head, Mikal confronts danger at every turn as he uncovers the mystery of the Brightworking.