The Darkling Child is the second novel in The Defenders of Shannara trilogy. It chronicles the sorcerer Arcannen's attempts to gain control of Reyn Frosch, a young man with the power of the wishsong, and Paxon Leah's attempts to rescue Reyn.
After taking up the Sword of Leah against Arcannen, Paxon had become the sworn protector of the Druids at Paranor. Five years after he entered their service, the Ard Rhys Aphenglow Elessedil is dying. Paxon hardly has time to mourn as the use magic of the wishsong is detected in the Four Lands. Paxon must accompany a Druid emissary to find its source and ensure the formidable power is not wielded by the wrong hands.
But in the village of Portlow danger is already on the way for the gentle traveling minstrel Reyn Frosch, who carries the power of the wishsong. His abilities have captured the malevolent interest of none other than Arcannen. Arcannen was the lone survivor of a brutal assault on the notorious pirate city of Arbrox, and he is determined to retaliate against the Federation's elite military guard and to use the power of the wishsong as his ultimate weapon. All that he needs to do is convince a reluctant Reyn, who is determined never to use his power again. The sorcerer calls upon Lariana to turn the minstrel's head and twist his will, promising to train her in magic if she seduces Reyn into working for him.