An all- powerful ruler's son vies for control over the human race in this brilliant conclusion to the Patternist saga, from the critically acclaimed author of Parable of the Sower. In the far future, the human race is divided into two groups striving for power. The Patternmaster rules over all, the leader of the telepathic Patternist race whose thoughts can destroy or heal at his whim. The only threat to his power are the Clayarks, mutant humans created by an alien pandemic, who now live either enslaved by the Patternists or in the wild. Coransee, son of the ruling Patternmaster, wants the throne and will stop at nothing to get it, even if it means venturing into the wild mutant-infested hills to destroy a young apprentice -- his equal and his brother.