Six years had passed since the redoubtable knight Sparhawk had triumphed over the evil God Azash and returned to Elenia with Queen Ehlana, his bride. And now a new danger had arisen to threaten the peace of Ehlana's realm. The trouble had started quietly. At home, bandits began to plague the hill country. In neighboring Lamorkand, the customary political unrest turned ominous with whispers that the bloody heroes of old soon would rise again. And travelers reported that the Trolls had all disappeared from the icy northern haunts of Thalesia. Simple problems, apparently unrelated - until an ambassador arrived from the far-off Tamul empire, begging Sparhawk's aid. These same dangers that stalked Ehlana's kingdom had already struck his realm full-force.
The fabled ancient warriors of Tamuli had indeed returned - intent on carnage. Monsters and fell magics had followed, and the havoc and terror they spawned were tearing the empire apart. The empire had sent for the Pandion Knight who had killed the God Azash. If Sparhawk wanted to stop this danger before it could savage his own land, he now must lend his aid. Sparhawk, Ehlana, and their daughter, Princess Danae, agreed to make the grueling trek to the far-distant empire of the east. They traveled in company with a handful of trusted companions: the stalwart champions of the four Militant Orders, the knight Berit, Mirtai the giantess, and the young thief Talen. With the child-goddess Aphrael to speed their journey, they began the treacherous traverse of the utmost reaches of the Daresian continent, to Tamul's distant capital. There, in the emperor's glittering court, they would encounter corruption, treachery - and a greater danger than any man had faced before!