At seventeen all Thornos could think about was women and fighting, but that was before his mother was nearly killed by a dragon. Now his every thought is about how the Dragon Empire isn't doing enough to make sure the dragons who live outside the Dragon Isles are obeying the creeds that protect the races of people.
Grendar, an old friend who helped save his mother's life offers Thornos somewhere to direct his frustrated energy; become the first dragonwatcher. At first it sounds like exactly what he needs; a chance to amass a bit of wealth and fame, and do something about the dragon problem at the same time. But, as with all things where dragons are concerned, this dragonwatcher idea of Grendar's is far from simple. He must spend an entire moon with each type of dragon. With twelve types of dragons this means his training won't be complete for the entire turn of seasons.
Between lessons on astronomy, geography, storms, and fighting, Thornos spends time with a local tribe of shrakee elves who are tasked to teach him how to fly a creature called a teraptor. As much as he hates it, flying may be the least of his worries as he starts to fall for his instructor’s daughter. Worse yet, his only competition for her affections is assigned to travel with him to the Dragon Isles to continue his training. But Thornos's troubles are only beginning. Chemier, a dragon cursed to live one hundred winters trapped in a human's body, is searching him out to destroy both him and the Emperor's dragonwatcher idea.