The first book in Pamela Freeman's acclaimed Castings trilogy. Bramble, a village girl whose grandfather is a Traveller, witnesses a warlord's man wound a wolf in the woods. As she is an experienced tracker she finds the wolf and puts it out of its misery. The man finds out and confronts her, and in self-defence Bramble kills him and steals his horse. Worried that the warlord will discover her crime and threaten her family, she takes to the Road so they are not in danger. Ash is a young man, also a Traveller, who has recently left the Road which he travelled with his musician parents. They have found him an apprenticeship with a safe guarder house in Turvite, the largest town in the region. Safe guarders are part security guards/part mercenaries. Ash's story begins when he kills a young woman one night - a thief who is trying to kill him. The murder throws his life into turmoil and he decides he needs to find another career - or set out on the Road once more. And so the story of Bramble and Ash begins.