Trial by fire...
After 15-year-old Alastair Stone is caught performing magic at his prestigious boarding school, he can hardly believe his good fortune; not only isn't he punished, but his father arranges a trial apprenticeship - three years early - with one of the most powerful mages in all of Britain. He'll have a month to prove himself, or he'll be packed back off to school.
But when Alastair arrives at his new master's vast, remote country house, he soon finds that his teacher's draconian style and exacting standards aren't the only challenges he'll have to face to pass his trial. The house holds deadly secrets, and not all of his master's staff are on his side.
There's also the matter of the village girl he can't stop thinking about. All this is bad enough - but when events spiral out of control, unleashing a murderous enemy to stalk the dark halls of the manor, Alastair is left as the only line of defense against a potential bloodbath. Can a barely-trained, 15-year-old mage on his own use his wits and courage to save not only his life, but his master's?