After witnessing the murder of his mother, the Rebel Queen, Maric is forced to run for his life when he is saved rather unceremoniously by a group of outlaws. The story develops from there, taking you through Maric's journey of finding his place as a man and king, and through winning his kingdom back from a petulant, cruel tyrant.
Maric's two allies are Loghain, the young outlaw who saved him, and Rowan, a beautiful warrior maiden promised to him since birth. Both feature prominently in saving Maric from several more close calls and in helping Maric win the confidence of his countrymen and commanders. These three characters are the most developed; however, it is unlikely you will play them in the game, which is probably by design so you can create your own game fantasy.
The plot moves quickly through a few years while the main characters mature and the world is developed. The plot feels a bit disconnected and the ending was pulled together too quickly, leaving me wanting a richer conclusion. Not all story elements were incorporated fully, especially the visit with the witch in the Wilds. Nor were there dragons in this story, save for the one guest appearance on a far horizon.
Overall, the story is entertaining, with a clear line between good and evil, and while the plot is not complex or fully developed, it still moves at a good pace and makes for a nice, light read. If you enjoy fantasy stories with witches, dwarves, and elves (here a second-class citizen), and don't require deep or complex plots, then you may enjoy Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne. The story is not required to enjoy playing Dragon Age: Origins, nor is experience with the game before reading the book necessary.