Hael, a young herder cast out of his tribe for killing a taboo beast, is thrust into a foreign world where steel is so rare it is used as currency, and where a simple herder must become a warrior in order to survive.
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Long ago, so legend says, the world was destroyed, and everthing changed. Once there were animals called bull and bear; now men ride horned cabos, and avoid the deadly long-neck. Now there are new nations, new empires, for the hearts of men have changed little. In this world, Hael, Shasinn warrior exiled from his home islands for breaking a taboo, has found a life among the nomadic tribes of the plains, but his past is coming to find him. The Shasinn have changed and and old enemy is leading them to conquest. The Black Shields are coming, and the civilized world rocks on its foundations.
While traveling throughout the south, Ansa, son of King Hael, meets Fyanna, and together they become caught up in the chaos caused by the arrival of the conquering armies of Grania.
Under King Hael, the People of the Plains unite under the security of a mountain of pure iron, defending their land with steel arrowheads and swords.
Strange ships appear from an unknown continent bringing opportunity for vast wealth and power to Islanders and Mainlanders alike - and a deadly plague that devastates the kingdoms of the Mainland. But King Gasam and the Islanders are immune.