With a single sentence, Janet Lorimer establishes the mood of Master of Shadows. And there, she starts a familiar story — Beauty meets the Beast and goes to live with him in his enchanted castle. That is, he could be a beast. Since he is always shrouded in a cowl, Ariel doesn’t know for certain.
In the story, Louvel hires Ariel to categorize the books in his extensive library. Ariel has a master’s degree in Liberal Arts — a proper degree for a the daughter of a wealthy man — and she is delighted to have a chance to actually use it.