The Briar King is dead, and the world itself follows him to ruin. Aspar White, wounded and tired, must embark on one last quest to save the forest and the people he loves, but he has little hope of success.
Anne Dare at last sits on the throne of Crotheny, but for how long? The Church, now led by the corrupt and powerful March Hespero, has declared a holy war against her, giving the king of Hansa the pretext he needs to unleash his vast might on the young queen and her unready army.
But Hansa is the least of Anne's worries. The Hellrune, war seer of Hansa, strikes at her through vision and prophecy. The Kept-last of the elder Skasloi lords-weaves his own dark webs. Anne's teacher and ally in the sedos world might also be her worst enemy, and Anne's own mounting strength compels her toward madness.
Surviving these dangers and mastering her eldritch abilities are merely prelude to the real struggle. There are many-some with power matching or even exceeding Anne's own-who are willing to kill in order to seize control. For whoever sits upon the throne will have the ultimate command to bring about the world's salvation-or its apocalypse.
From the Hardcover edition.