The Imperial Merchant Ship Chathrand is the last of her kind. Six hundred years old, the secrets of her construction long forgotten, the massive vessel dwarfs every other sailing craft in the world. It is a palace with sails, a floating outpost of the Empire of Arqual. And it is on its most vital mission yet: to deliver a young woman whose marriage will seal the peace between Arqual and its mortal enemy, the secretive Mzithrin Empire.
Thasha's wedding is hours away. It is a wedding that will both fulfill the promise of a mad god's return and see her murdered. Pazel has thwarted the sorcerer who would bring back the god but both sides now face deadlock. Can Thasha be saved? Can the war between two Empires be stopped?
After a harrowing escape from their first landfall in the southern lands and worse disasters in the city where they seek refuge, the crew of the Chathrand discover that the worst imaginable thing has happened: Arunis has stolen the Nilstone. Now our heroes face a terrible choice. They can flee with the crew, and leave Arunis to do what he will - or they can pursue him into the wild, abandoning all but the slimmest chance of ever returning home.
The evil sorcerer Arunis is dead, yet the danger has not ended. For as he fell, beheaded by the young warrior-woman Thasha Isiq, Arunis summoned the Swarm of Night, a demonic entity that feasts on death and grows like a plague. If the Swarm is not destroyed, the world of Alifros will become a vast graveyard. Now Thasha and her comrades - the tarboy Pazel Pathkendle and the mysterious wizard Ramachni - begin a quest that seems all but impossible. Yet there is hope: One person has the power to stand against the Swarm: the great mage Erithusmé.
"A sweeping story comes to an amazing ending!"