The dwarves have captured Nameless and left the Axe of the Dwarf Lords abandoned on the shore of the serpent’s lake. With Ilesa gone, it’s down to Nils and Silas to stage a rescue, but first they’ll have to stop squabbling and find something they can agree on.
Meanwhile, the legendary prevarication of the dwarven Council of Twelve is under threat from a people grown tired of indecision. The survivors of the Ravine Butcher’s massacre want their pound of flesh.
Blightey’s grimoire makes more and more demands, and Silas suspects he no longer has any say in where it is leading him. As his body ails and he grows nostalgic for all he’s left behind, his mind is usurped by visions of a forest of tar, and at its center, wreathed in briars, a staff of deepest ebony.