The protagonist, Lirael, is raised among the Clayr; but having coal-black hair, a pale complexion, and brown eyes, differs physically from her chestnut-skinned, white-blonde, blue or green-eyed peers, and additionally lacks their native precognition. While trying to make a canine sending, she accidentally summons the immortal ‘Disreputable Dog’, thereafter her constant companion. In Ancelestierre, Prince Sameth (the son of Sabriel and Touchstone) is attacked by the necromancer Hedge and his summoned Dead Hands (a zombie-like construct); and Sameth’s friend Nicholas ‘Nick’ Sayre is placed under Hedge’s control. Sameth’s father, Touchstone, thereafter conveys him to their capital Belisaere. Here he is expected to succeed his mother as the Abhorsen, a future of which he is terrified.