|“||The Green Ember burns; the seed of the New World smolders. Healing is on the horizon, but a fire comes first. Bear the flame.||”|
— Heather Longtreader, The Green Ember
"Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world.
Kings fall and kingdoms totter. Tyrants ascend and terrors threaten. Betrayal beckons, and loyalty is a broken road with peril around every bend.
Where will Heather and Picket land? How will they make their stand?"
An excerpt from The Black Star of Kingston.
Picket and Heather are two young rabbits living in the peaceful region of Nick Hollow in the far north of Natalia, with their father, mother, and baby brother, Jacks. In the fields between the East Wood and West Wood, just outside their elm-tree home they loved playing the game of Starseek with each other.
However, during one day's game, the "star" they play with becomes stuck in a tree. While the pair are attempting to retrieve it, a storm rolls in, and the pair are forced to retreat into their tree home. As the family is recovering from the scare, Picket and Heather's father begins to tell them a story: The Rise and Fall of King Jupiter the Great.
In his telling, he recounts the origins and heroism of King Jupiter, but is ultimately overcome by emotion and unable to finish the tale. The following morning, the latest in a series of strange visitors arrives at the home, introducing herself as Lady Glen.
After having breakfast with her and their parents, Picket and Heather are sent to Gladeberry, only to rush home when they hear screams coming from nearby Elric's farm. Upon arriving back at their home, the pair find the tree ablaze and their family being captured by wolves, a group of whom come after the pair. Heather, after sending Picket running ahead for the hoped for safety of Seven Mounds, confronts the wolves and their leader Redeye Garlackson.
She manages to elude them in a daring chase through Evergreen Row, only to become jammed in the entrance to the mound in which Picket is hiding. However, she is saved by the timely arrival of her uncle Wilfred Longtreader and his ward Smalls, who drive off Garlackson. With the wolves' allies closing in, Picket and Smalls attempt to make their way through Seven Mounds with an unconscious Heather while Wilfred sets off to a rendezvous point. The two bucks eventually make their way into a large cavern, where Smalls is knocked unconscious but Heather awakens. With Wilfred's help, they are able to break down a dam in the cavern, and all four rabbits are able to escape the wolves aboard a boat found in the caves.
The group then make their way down the Whitmer River to Decker's Landing, only to find the dwelling ablaze with wolves in the area. The rabbits are able to sneak past the wolves, but Picket-depressed by his family's abduction and harboring a growing resentment towards the capable Smalls-injures his foot in the process. They eventually arrive at the Savory Den, where they are met by the Forest Guard of Cloud Mountain led by Captain Pacer.
After a tense greeting, they are welcomed more warmly by Lord Rake and Emma, the latter a doctor-in-training who tends to Picket's foot. After eating at the Savory Den, they are welcomed properly to Cloud Mountain, a stronghold of the Heralds of the Mended Wood.
The following day, Heather and Picket, the latter aided by crutches, are given a tour of Cloud Mountain by Emma. During the trip they behold the beautiful King Whitson's Garden, and have a run-in with the charming but mischievous Kyle. They also witness a reckless combat exercise organized by Helmer, a solitary and cantankerous rabbit. Helmer is saved from his own devices by the arrival of Lord Rake, Wilfred, and Smalls, the latter of whom suffers minor injuries in saving the older rabbit.
Subsequently, Emma gives Heather and Picket a tour of the craft guilds' hall, where they witness a calling ceremony. The positive experience is marred when Picket has an encounter with a tense and rude guard, which only increases his surly mood.
While Picket goes off alone and is later saved from further trouble but also rebuked by a sympathetic Smalls, Emma introduces Heather to the wise Maggie Weaver. Seeking training as a soldier in order to avenge his family, Picket approaches Helmer, who despite his initial disinterest eventually accepts Picket as a student, to the shock of both Lord Rake and Heather.
Troubled by her own lack of knowledge, the cold attitudes of some Cloud Mountain residents towards her family, and conversations overheard between Wilfred and Smalls, Heather finds herself fearful that her family may not be the rabbits she thought they were. She is further stunned when Picket, despite the rough treatment received from Helmer in their training, actually shows happiness and enthusiasm. The pair both suffer a blow when, during an initiation class in Lighthall, they learn that their uncle Garten Longtreader betrayed King Jupiter. As a result, the Great Wood has been burned and taken over by the minions of the evil Morbin Blackhawk, while their family name of Longtreader has become associated with treason. However, hope for rabbitkind remains in the unknown person of Jupiter's heir, a son to whom he bequeathed the Green Ember as a token of his future kingship.
Tensions continue to rise as Cloud Mountain hosts a Citadel of Dreams, a meeting between the various secret citadels that oppose the Lords of Prey. While Picket is forced to contend with Helmer's hopeless outlook on the prospect of war, both he and Heather suffer scorn and personal attacks from various sources.
After a particularly harrowing confrontation with Halfwind Citadel's Captain Frye that is broken up by Blackstar Citadel's Lord Victor Blackstar, the pair learn that several of the lords want to put their uncle Wilfred on trial. However, during an assembly in Master Hall, the words of Maggie Weaver and a concert performed by several rabbits begin to alleviate the feelings of disunity.
Smalls, having approached Heather regarding whether she trusts Kyle, with whom she has been growing more friendly, informs her of his intention to leave. Fearing for him, Heather follows him into Lighthall and discovers the truth: Smalls is in fact the son of King Jupiter. As she goes to tell Wilfred where Smalls has gone, the mountain is invaded by a force of wolves. Having heard Wilfred's own distrust of Kyle, Heather leads Picket to Smalls' rooms and finds Kyle there. Upon being confronted, he admits that on orders from his father, he planned for the attack with the wolves and has sent Smalls into a trap at Jupiter's Crossing, the site of King Jupiter's murder.
Reluctantly, the pair split up, with Heather going to gather what allies she can while Picket heads off to try and intercept Smalls. Heather attends to a wounded soldier, Jo Shanks, and is able to safe Wilfred and Helmer from attacking wolves before informing them of the news. Picket, meanwhile, arrives at Jupiter's Crossing to find Smalls at the mercy of Redeye Garlackson, Garten Longtreader, and a pair of birds. In an incredible display, he manages to stun both birds with leaping attacks, before killing Redeye and causing Garten to flee.
Picket and the freed Smalls are then menaced by a larger force of wolves, but are saved when the resistance forces marshaled by Heather arrive. Smalls is revealed openly as Jupiter's heir, and praises the loyal members of the Longtreader family for all they have done on his behalf. Heather, inspired by her brother's heroism, composes a story that provides the scattered resistance forces with hope and a new motto: "Bear the flame." Later, while Picket and Helmer - now revealed as Lord Captain of the King's Army - are training, Captain Frye arrives with news that Picket's family may have been located.
- The Green Ember was the first book S. D. Smith had ever written.