Danny and Wayne Taylor and their obnoxious cousin Michelle Brewer fall into a lake and emerge from the Memorial Fountain in Palatia. Michelle is taken to the palace and becomes an adviser to the king. Danny and Wayne, on the other hand, meet up with an exiled prince who has a message from the Unseen One: let the Marutian slaves go. The children are caught on opposite ends of the struggle, but learn that it is all part of the Unseen One's plan.
As much as Danny and Wayne dislike Michelle, they really do hope for her safety. Danny loves Wayne, despite his flaws. Fendar doesn't like inflicting pain on the Palatians - particularly his former foster brother, the king - but his duty to the Unseen One remains higher than any other. He also keeps an eye out for the boys.
Michelle is selfish and stubborn for most of the book, but she comes to realize how wrong she is. The king refuses to let the Marutians go, despite what it costs his people.
Danny and Wayne are Christians; Fendar and a couple others have an unwavering faith in the Unseen One (aka God). Fendar tells a man it's a mistake to call the Unseen One's power "magic". His power is clearly displayed as superior. Throughout the book, there is a struggle between God's power and evil magic. The issue of man's free will and God's ultimate plan being intertwined is addressed. The blood that covers the firstborn comes from a Lamb; Fendar tells Danny that he has already been covered, though not by a physical mark.
The Palatian court includes seers and magicians. They work via magic and astrology. The Palatians believe in being buried in splendor and with gold coins in order to impress and bribe death so they can be taken to the land of the gods. The king believes Michelle was "sent by the fates". Another person says "thank the gods" at one point. The children are believed (by Palatians) to have powers. At the end, Michelle is accused of having cast spells.
The three kids are accidentally shoved into a deep lake. Danny and Wayne are mistreated and threatened by an innkeeper and his patrons for a short while. A bird kills four other birds. The king increases hardship on the Marutians. At one point, Michelle is held in a cage, hit, grabbed, thrown into a bookshelf, and ends up with a bleeding cut. Danny is chased by guards. The king and his army fall down a cliff to their deaths.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Some men at an inn drink; Danny is forced to serve them.
Crude or Profane Language or Content
Those familiar with the Biblical account of Moses will recognize this retelling very quickly. Even though the plagues and the events surrounding the Exodus are changed for the story's "other-worldly" sake, Paul McCusker takes the pains to remain close to the true account. Readers should, however, be familiar with the biblical account before reading this.