Sequel to The Curse of Chalion and is set some three years after the events of that novel. It follows Ista, mother of the girl who became Royina in that book and a minor character in it. Recovering from the extreme guilt and grief that had marked her as mad while the Golden General's curse on her family persisted, she finds herself bored to distraction and restless. To get away from her home town, Valenda, and its ugly memories she sets out on a religious pilgrimage with the dy Gura brothers for protection; Liss, a feisty and clever courier girl; and dy Cabon, a plump priest of the Bastard as her 'spiritual guide'. The Bastard, god of disasters and of things out of season, becomes a larger presence in this novel than was The Lady of Spring in The Curse of Chalion; by its end, Ista herself has become a saint in his service.