At last Jordan Elliott has a gift. He can disappear, but at what price? The Beggar King never gives without taking. Jordan is about to discover that everything has an underside: even magic, even him. A political coup on Jordan's fifteenth birthday brings the disappearance of many Cirrans, including his mother. Brinnian guards have imprisoned them at an unknown location. The time is also coming for Jordan to choose a vocation and take his robes, and not a single talent has revealed itself besides a gift for mischief. On his sixteenth birthday he risks everything in a defiant act punishable by hanging. The guards spot him; he is doomed. When the Beggar King offers him the gift of disappearing, he has no choice but to accept. Who is this man, anyway? No one believes there's such a thing as a Beggar King. But there is, and he means to bring back the undermagic, a dangerous dark power from long ago. Jordan needs this power to save his mother, so he agrees to help the sorcerer. But he discovers that the undermagic is difficult to give up once you've tried it. And there is always a price, a terrible price, which the Beggar King does not name in advance.