Unlike the good doctor, his young assistant, Raseed bas Raseed, a warrior in the holy order of dervishes, is pious to the point of being inflexible in his judgements of others and himself. You either live according to the dictates of the Traditions or you're morally lacking. However he finds himself sorely tested when he and the doctor meet a young tribeswomen, Zamia Badawi, during their pursuit of the ghuls responsible for the most recent attack. The fact that she is blessed by the angels with the ability to assume the shape of a lioness armed with silver claws and teeth and saves both men's lives is only part of the problem. For the first time in his life Raseed finds himself beset with feelings that have nothing to do with his sacred calling and everything to do with Zamia.
Unfortunately he's picked the worst time possible to be plagued with doubts and distractions, for it turns out this new attack isn't just some minor magic user, but something far more ancient and evil. These days most spell casters are only able to raise one or two ghuls and have to keep them in sight in order to control them.
However, the creatures the Doctor, Raseed and Zamia defeat outside the city are on their own and far stronger than anything Makhslood has faced in decades. Then upon their return to the city they are attacked in the doctor's home by more ghuls and something even more deadly. A creature made of shadow, part-man part-jackal, who can't be harmed by normal weapons, only those made of silver. It's only through the timely intervention of his close friends and neighbours, Dawoud Son-of-Wajeed, a magus, and his wife Litaz, the alchemist, they survives the attack. For while Zamia's silver clawsaere able to wound the thing that called itself Mouw Awa, it also gives her a horrible festering wound which untreated will gradually eaten her soul. Only the combined workings of Dawoud and Litaz are able to save her.
Finding out who is behind the attacks is only the first hurdle the Doctor and his allies face. The shadow creature had mentioned something about its "blessed friend" sitting on the Cobra Throne and thus gaining the power needed to rule and create armies of monsters. If that wasn't bad enough, the city is also in the midst of a power struggle on the mortal plane. The current Khalif is a brutal and greedy man who makes life miserable for most of his citizens through crippling taxes and his cruel version of justice. A bandit calling himself the Falcon Prince has been carrying out a covert war against the Khalif for a while now, and judging by his actions he looks to be preparing his final push against the throne.