When one of their number is kidnapped, the powerful farseeker Elspeth Gordie and the Misfits are forced to use their extraordinary mind powers to help the rebels in their struggle to overthrow the oppressive Council. But Elspeth feels torn by her duty to lead the Misfits, and her need to seek out vital clues left by the long-dead seer, Kasanda, for without them, she can never complete her quest to destroy the Beforetime weaponmachines. To find a clue lost in the past, Elspeth must travel the Dreamtrails with the cat, Maruman, as her guide and guardian. But her dream journeys are fraught with danger as a terrifying winged beast seeks to destroy her. And yet, only in dreams can she learn more of the Beforetime Misfits and their enemy, the oppressive Govamen. Gradually Elspeth realises that her quest is intimately linked to the Misfits' refuge, Obernewtyn - its past as well as its future.