The Heart-Tree, shrine to the goddess of life, stands at the centre of the world-fragment she defends, but beyond its protective reach, darkness has begun to stir. Anastagus the Truthseeker, once among the noblest of the Heart-Tree's guardians, has fallen to the sway of the Spider Goddess, and in her name, seeks the ruination of all he once defended.
For Azaki, orphan and outcast of the Spider Goddess’ Clan of the Webbed Pit, this brings the chance for he and his sworn friends to prove themselves worthy of the clan's favour after years of scraping by on its fringes. Under the command of Anastagus’ mad Companion, Cogodakus, he and those others offered up as tribute warriors by their clans will raid their way south through the sacred groves of the Heart-Tree Goddess and seize glory.
However, Azaki’s misfortune sees him injured and left for dead in the ashes of a sacred grove by the sworn friends from his clan.
Discovered there by his clan's ancient foes, and now wielding their strange power, he finds there is less to hate in soft, southern lands than he dreamt there'd be.
Yet Anastagus comes south regardless, and Azaki is still bound to his service.
The brightest lights cast the deepest shadows. The corrupted paradise of Aedyn spreads its hegemony beneath a six-crowned flag; its tyranny borne on the blade of its First Swords, unmatchable warriors of unnatural prowess. Those that dare to resist fight a desperate struggle, searching for some way to defeat the undefeatable.
Ilerwe, youngest daughter of the King of Thuun, is smuggled from her besieged city. Refusing to flee, she gambles her life on finding the only one rumoured to have ever defeated a First Sword, the Shadow of the Moon. But instead of a legendary warrior and champion, she finds Athion, travelling peddler of magical stones. Together, they seek to save her kingdom from Aedyn's grasp and bring an end to its tyranny.
But paradise lost is not so easily regained and the moon's shadow is as dark as any other.
The Bright Day has come. Magic returns to a world that has all but forgotten it.
The Order of the Magii rejoices, for their prophesied chosen child will usher them from the cruel misrule of Hakon Fyrro, the Pale Jarl, and into into a world of peace and light.
Yet, with their hope come evil omens. The once-banished Devourers stir in the wilderness, eager to restore their pantheon to supremacy and plunge everyone back into the mythic Dark World. The magii know only the chosen child can stop them, but where there ought to be one born with the power to defeat the Devourers, there're two, and not even the Ancient, their leader, knows which is the prophesied victor.
Sasyo Ahant, giftless and outcast, is forced from the safety of the Magii's libraries into a divided, chaotic world for fear of influencing the twin girls marked for greatness. To survive, he must become everything the Order of the Magii told him he was not.
And always he dreams of the Screaming Man upon his crimson stair into the heavens.
And he knows, deep down, that his part to play isn't done.