Across the mountains called the Dragon's Teeth, beyond the chill reach of the Werewind and the fires of the world's beginning, above the walls of the castle Fangdred, stands Windtower. From this lonely keep the Star Rider calls forth the war that even wizards dread, fought for a woman's hundred-lifetime love. A woman called Nepanthe, princess to the Stormkings…
October. When leaves turn blood and the wind turns bone: a time for doing things dark and strange. So the princess bears a child to the winged thing and the cries are heard far beyond the peaks of Dragon's Teeth, at the end of the world's Beginning, where Nepanthe and Mocker wait for the war that wizards dread.
At empire's end war is not all hell. Mocker finds old friends in the halls of death, and Nepanthe, new lovers in the fields of blood and bone. The war-child wields the sword of truth: the Star Rider's dread secret is at last revealed. And so it ends. Though "end" is but a wizard-word for new beginnings.
Once a mighty kingdom reigned - now all is chaos and darkness! In the vast reaches of the desert, a young heretic escapes certain death and embarks on a mission of madness and glory. He is El Murid - the Disciple - who vows to bring order, prosperity and righteousness to the desert people of Hammad al Nakir. But among the warriors, rebellion seethes as they plot to execute the justice of the desert on their evil leader. For after four long centuries, a sorcerer appears among them - a savior destined to build a new Empire from the blood of their enemies!
The holy wars had begun, his family was slaughtered by bandits. He was abandoned to die in the desert - but he survived, with the help of his god, and became El Murid, the Disciple. Against him rides Haroun ben Yousif, High Prince of sorcery. Their war will soak the desert with magic, and with blood.
It has ended. It begins again. In Kavelin, Lady Nepanthe's new life with the wizard Varthlokkur is disturbed by visions of her lost son, while King Bragi Ragnarson and Michael Trebilcock scheme to help the exiled Princess Mist re-usurp her throne - under their thumb. In Shinsan, a pig-farmer's son takes command of Eastern Army, while Lord Kuo faces plots in his council and a suicide attack of two million Matayangans on his border.
Rejecting the advice of the wizard Varthlokkur and spymaster Michael Trebilcock, King Bragi Ragnorson of Kavelin joins Chatelain Mist's coup against the Dread Empire. Ragnorson dangles the fate of his nation in the jaws of his foes, refusing to see that his one true enemy may be himself.
At long last, the conclusion to Glen Cook's Dread Empire saga has arrived! King Bragi Ragnarson is a prisoner, shamed, nameless, and held captive by Lord Shih-kaa and the Empress Mist at the heart of the Dread Empire. Far away in Kavelin, Bragia's queen and what remains of his army seek to find and free their king, hampered by the loss or desertion of their best and brightest warriors. Kavelina's spymaster, Michael Trebilcock, is missing in action, as is loyal soldier Aral Dantice.