The Anvil of the World is the tale of Smith and his feud-prone people, the Children of the Sun. Smith, formerly a successful assassin, is trying to retire, hoping to live an honest life in obscurity in spite of all those who have sworn to kill him. But when he agrees to be the master of a caravan from traveling from the inland city of Troon to Salesh by the sea, trouble follows.
As always, Baker's approach is charmingly distinctive. Smith's adventure is certainly the only fantasy featuring a white-uniformed nurse, gourmet cuisine, one hundred and forty-four glass butterflies, and a steamboat.