After a lifetime of hardship on the streets, Felik is offered the coveted position of fisherman, one of the respected elite that hunt the great Mer-Kind. Mer-Kind are powerful beasts of the sea with scaled tails and human-like torsos, and the city thrives on the exports of the many goods made from their skins, hair, and flesh.
His first day on the job, Felik catches and meets Mercdon, a kind and honorable Mer-Kind general. Mercdon shocks Felik by showing him that he can be more compassionate and humane than any human Felik has ever known, himself included. He falls deeply for the Mer-Kind man, but when faced with the choice of saving Mercdon's life--but losing the security Felik has sought after for so many years--or releasing him back to the sea, Felik is torn.