The virtual world of Barliona is a place of rest and entertainment-but not for everyone. It has become a survival arena for Daniel Mahan after he was sentenced to eight years in its virtual jail. Mahan has been through it all: the back-breaking work in the mines, betrayal by other prisoners, and finally, the retrial which has released him into Barliona's common world. What more could one want? Mahan could have kept a low profile and enjoyed relative freedom while serving the rest of his time. But being a Shaman, he can't help himself. Soon he's a clan leader, taking fifty of the continent's top players to claim the secrets of the Dark Forest.