Like his physician father, Garth Baxtor is gifted with The
Touch. By laying his hands upon a person, Garth can sense
what dwells within: pain, illness, joy, or sorrow. It is
through the application of The Touch that the gifted
minister helps the sick of Escator by diagnosing ills and
By decree of the royal treasury, for a period of three
weeks each year, physicians of Escator - in lieu of taxes -
are required to attend to the needs of the criminals who
labor endlessly in the Veins, the labyrinth of mines carved
deep into the earth and from which they harvest the gloam-a
priceless commodity upon which the fortunes of Escator
It is during one such period of mandatory service that
Joseph Baxtor decides his son is old enough to accompany
him to the Veins as his apprentice. Garth is delighted.
It's a chance to escape the dull and dreary surroundings of
his quiet village for the delights of the capital city of
Ruen. Joseph has been ordered to attend King Cavor himself.
Garth will actually meet the king in person!
As he discovers all too soon, however, the task at hand is
a grim one. Descending into the mines for the first time,
Garth could hardly be less prepared for what he encounters:
thousands of men laboring like animals in dreadful
conditions deep below the earth's surface.
Applying his hands to the wound of one prisoner known only
as Lot No. 859, Garth is stunned by what he discovers. This
man is no common criminal. But then, who is he? Could it
be? After all these years?
The answer to the riddle will involve Garth in a harrowing
journey out of the Veins and into the Land of Dreams as he
tries to resolve the question of the identity of Lot No
859. In the process, Garth will solve a centuries-old
mystery-a mystery that will pit one king against another
and shake the Kingdom of Escator to its foundations.