Tavi runs for his life part 1: The story follows many different characters, but there's one theme that consistently crops up of Tavi running for his life. The first part where he's escaping from imminent danger involves the Marat. These people are a different race than most of the main characters, Alerans. When Tavi and his Uncle Bernard stumble upon them, it becomes very clear that the Marat aren't supposed to be around. This quickly ties into the other storyline involving a Cursor named Amara who is trying to protect the throne. An usurper rallies the Marat to invade Calderon and weaken the First Lord Gaius. Unfortunately, Tavi gets caught in the crosshairs and stuck out in the elements with Amara.
Tavi runs for his life part 2: Tavi's great luck continues as he ends up captive at the hands of the Marat. Which doesn't involve a lot of happy fun time as these blokes want to serve him up like sashimi, nice and raw. He catches the interest of one Marat chieftan though, who uses Tavi as a potential way to overthrow the other corrupt leader. The agreement? Tavi and the Marat chieftan's own whelp will participate in a Trial of Wits. Whomever wins is in the right. Which means Tavi will not get devoured alive. However, during said trial, while Tavi's smarts may get him through with his life, he wakes up a big, bad, unknown beastie. Continuing his winning streak of...running for his life.
Tavi runs for his life part 3: So, meanwhile in the rest of the book, everyone else has been busy getting themselves into dire situations. Which makes it perfect for when Tavi interrupts their failing stand at Calderon to bring in an opposing army of Marat to save the day. But the brief cheer that's brought on his arrival quickly falls to chaos. And when he steals the Marat leader's knife, containing the name of the usurper behind the attacks, suddenly everyone focuses their attention on him again. And he's again, running for his life. This kid lands in the worst freaking scenarios. Regardless, with the aid of his companions, including an ex-swordsman turned dullard, they manage to save Calderon, so Tavi can finally take a break and catch his breath.