The Night Angel trilogy tells the tale of Azoth, a young orphan who barely gets by from day to day as a member of the Black Dragon thieves guild. Azoth and his friends must find a way to steal enough coin each day to pay their dues to the guild enforcer, Rat, and still have some money left over for food. One night Azoth stumbles upon Durzo Blint, the best assassin in the city, as he flees the scene of a just completed job. Street smart and a good judge of character, Azoth asks to apprentice under Durzo but he is instantly rejected by the master assassin. When Azoth's best friend is beaten and raped by Rat, he becomes more determined to apprentice under Durzo so that he can learn to stick up for himself and his friends. Azoth encounters Durzo a second time and threatens to kill him if he won't take Azoth on as an apprentice. Durzo sees something in the boy and agrees to take him on only if he kills Rat by himself before the end of the week.
The Farseer family rules the Six Duchies as they have for many generations but dire times are at hand. The Red Ships are raiding the coastal cities and King Shrewd's health is failing. He has many sons so the line of succession is well defined and with the King in poor health Prince Verity does the majority of the ruling. Of course that doesn't sit well with Prince Regal, a selfish and cruel individual who is the son furthest down the line of succession and unhappy with his station. Sound familiar?