At the end of Passager, Merlin seemed to have found a family. Master Robin, Mag, and Nell took him in and he learned the ways of farming and falconry. Hobby begins with the shocking end of his life on the farm. He leaves the farm with some social skills and a little experience with the outside world, but his travels in Hobby are a learning process, as he discovers the evil people can do and the harshness with which even sympathetic people can treat an unconventional person such as he. In the process, he meets a spy, a mage, a bard, and Duke Vortigern, and he moves closer to becoming a mature falcon, to becoming Merlin.