Herta Tanner is recuperating from torture (in “Der Reizen”) and preparing to take up her duties as both High Escort of Tielen and Der Reizen of Earth. She is going to be taking mental exercises/lessons from a Tiele teacher, Kyria. Herta is also accused of murder and smuggling.
Herta’s soul-mate, Turan Freiermann, has to investigate two crimes, the murder of one of the councilors and how refined sugar is being smuggled into Tielen. The Tiel react differently to processed sugar than humans do. For them, it is a form of opiate. Turan must also discover what it is that is being traded for the sugar products.
One of the younger Tiele, Tamika, escapes from Tielen when the Gates between the worlds are closed down or guarded. She works with Herta to translate/transcribe a diary Herta found while looking around in a curio shop. The diary was written in an older form of the Tiel language and gives clues as to who the mastermind of the smugglers is.
As the novel progresses, the smugglers get more and more dangerous as they feel the others getting closer to their operations. Herta is followed by people known to the police, Priscilla St. John is almost killed and Krista Zwitzer, the police detective, is the victim of a hit-and-run.
There is also the mystery of what happened to Turan’s father, Danarius. He disappeared while Seeking his soul-mate, or so Herta is led to believe.
Herta tries to adapt to the cultures of her new home and job, but it’s difficult for her. There are some things, such as class distinctions, she doesn’t completely understand. She is also bitter towards the Tiel as they have been the greatest source of her recent aches and pains. When asked if the Gates between the worlds should be closed down, she gives two conflicting answers – yes and no. She’s willing to overlook her dislike of the Tiel in general in order to help those who could go insane if their soul-mates are not found, but as a person, she’s “not much fussed” on the Tiel.
This is the sequel to “Der Reizen” and the second of five books.