After decades of warfare, the tribes of the Tiste Edur have at last united under the rule of the Warlock King. But peace has been exacted at a terrible price - a pact made with a hidden power whose motives are at best suspect, at worst deadly. To the south, the expansionist kingdom of Lether has devoured all of its less-civilised neighbours with rapacious hunger.
All save one - the Tiste Edur. But Lether is approaching a long-prophesied renaissance - from kingdom and lost colony to Empire reborn - and has fixed its gaze on the rich lands of the Tiste Edur. It seems inevitable that the tribes will surrender, either to the suffocating weight of gold, or to slaughter at the edge of a sword.
Or so Destiny has decreed. A pivotal treaty between the two sides nears - but unknown ancient forces are awakening. For the impending struggle between these two peoples is but a pale reflection of an altogether more profound, primal battle - a confrontation with the still-raw wound of betrayal and the craving for vengeance at its heart.