Death is no stranger in the city of Erisén -- but some deaths attract more attention than others.
When a prostitute dies carrying a royal signet, Isyllt Iskaldur, necromancer and agent of the Crown, is called to investigate. Her search leads to desecrated tombs below the palace, and the lightless vaults of the vampiric vrykoloi deep beneath the city. But worse things than vampires are plotting in Erisén. . .
As a sorcerous plague sweeps the city and demons stalk the streets, Isyllt must decide who she's prepared to betray, before the city built on bones falls into blood and fire.
In a spectacular freestanding sequel to 2009's The Drowning City, Downum jumps a few years forward to find forensic necromancer Isyllt Iskaldur investigating the death of Forsythia, a young prostitute with stolen royal jewelry sewn into her clothes, in the haunted city of Erisin. As Isyllt follows the trail of death and theft to the sewers and their vampiric inhabitants, Savedra Severos, the crown prince's beautiful transgender mistress, struggles to defeat assassins and unravel plots involving her own uncle and a demonic sorceress mysteriously allied with Isyllt's mentor and former lover, the spymaster Kiril. Finely drawn characters love and betray with enthralling passion and pain, and the taverns and gardens of plague-ridden Erisin and the titular ruined palace at its center make a dark and richly detailed background for this complex and bloody tale of sorcery, madness, and intrigue.