Yuletide, the midwinter festival, is usually a joyous time of celebration at Dragonsdale; but this year, sinister undercurrents threaten the festivities. Drane, who wants to be Alberich Dragonleech’s assiatant, is passed over in favour of Tiernan from the Isle of Finnglass. Tiernan proves to be charming and popular – but also thoughtless and neglectful of his duties.

Cara’s enjoyment of the season is also blighted by a visit to Clapperclaw that goes disastrously wrong, and the subsequent arrival of Lord Torin, Hortense and her dreadful mother, Adelheid, at Dragonsdale. The scene is set for the Yearturn race, in which Tiernan’s revenge for being snubbed by Hortense looks set to make the rivalry between Clapperclaw and Dragonsdale, a deadly one.