The Burning Stone' returns us to the war-torn kingdoms of Wendar and Varre and picks up where the 'Prince of Dogs' left off: the Battle of Gent. Our first glimpse of this land is through the eyes of a new character to the series, Zacharia. Zacharia is a religious missionary in a foreign land on the run for his life. He is saved by a chance meeting with an Aoi sorceress. After she saves his life, Zacharia pledges his loyalty to her and her cause, which is soon revealed to be the search for 'Sawn-glant'. As a character, Zacharia is paper thin as if were introduced as only a writer's tool to provide the reader with a deeper understanding of the magical world in which the Aoi live. Each Crown of Stars novel gives the reader a glimpse of Aoi only through the eyes of other characters in the book. The Aoi remain as much a mystery to the reader as to the human characters in 'The Burning Stone'.
Liath, an enigmatic character at best, is on the run again from terrible forces seeking her death. While fleeing from a foe she cannot stop she falls through a "burning stone" and meets the Aoi sorcerer we were introduced to in 'Prince of Dogs'. The Aoi sorcerer explains the significance of the burning stones, gateways to other worlds, and offers to help Liath understand her own innate Magic. She gives up the opportunity to learn about herself, instead choosing her love, prince Sanglant. The Aoi sorcerer remains a mystery throughout the book. When Liath returns to the King's court she must still fight off the advances of the corrupt Father Hugh. Sanglant finds Liath in time and asks her again if she will marry him. Together they run away from the king's court when offered the chance to learn about her past and magical abilities. The climactic scene at the end reveals Liath's true nature and leaves the reader stunned, demanding for more.
Meanwhile, Alain, riding home in victory as the heir to Lavas holding and with the blessing of the King, is faced with a new threat from an old enemy. Bloodheart, killed at the Battle of Gent cast a curse with his dying breath that has fallen upon count Lavastine, Alain's father. During this calamity, Alain must cope with a new wife that he loves without bound, but who does not share his sentiment. Alain's right to be the heir to Lavas holding is contested and the king must settle the claim. In the final battle scene, the Lady of Battles, first seen in 'King's Dragon', makes an unexpected reappearance and reveals a shocking, and deadly truth to Alain.
Fifth Son, the Eika warrior Alian saved, continues to consolidate his power and earns the name Stronghand. He and Alain share a blood bond that allows one to see through the others eyes as he sleeps. As time goes by Stronghand and Alain begin sharing vision more and more frequently. Through Alain's eyes Stronghand learns more about the humans and how they behave. He has come to better understand what motivates the humans and to a degree respects them. However, we must wait for the next installment to see whether Stronghand and Alain will ever confront each other.
Ivar, having been to a monastery against his will and the cast out after being exposed to heretical religious views in 'Prince of Dogs', falls into the retinue of the youngest royal prince, Ekkehard. 'The Burning Stone' tends to slow to a standstill as we focus on Ivar's inner turmoil. Ivar spends an inordinate amount of time feeling sorry for himself and trying to reconcile his feelings for the Church with his heretical religious views. Then, after witnessing a miracle, he comes to his senses and the story moves back into action with the advance of the barbarian Quman raiders.
'The Burning Stone', while slowing to a crawl in some parts keeps the plot alive and twisting enough to keep ther reader enthralled. In the end Liath, Alain, and Ivar suffer reversals of fortune that forces each to make a life altering decision.