The siege of Kerbryhaine had been raised, the Ekwesh hordes vanquished, the Mastersmith slain. But for Alv - now Elof the Smith - the war was not yet won: Kerbryhaine was still a divided city; the Ekwesh, bloodily defeated, would look for revenge; and the Ice, implacably malevolent, continued its inexorable march southward.
So from divided Kerbryhaine Elof, Kermorvan and his companions mounted an expedition to the legendary lost cities of the East; if they managed to reunite the war-torn tribes, perhaps they could stand together against the menace of the Ice. But to Elof and Kermorvan the journey would also bring knowledge: of the Powers ranged for and against them; and the secrets within themselves waiting to be revealed - secrets that would play a part in the war yet to come.
The encroaching glaciers of an Ice Age provide the dramatic background for Rohan's fantasy trilogy, the Winter of the World. This second volume picks up magesmith Elof Valantor in the city of Kerbryhaine, recently beseiged by the Ekwesh. Though hampered by politics and urban prejudice, Elof and regal Keryn Kermorvan lead a small band to seek aid. Their odyssey through the Great Forest, from which few ever return, becomes a string of Homeric terrors and wonders. The travelers are prey to saber-toothed tigers, receive help from the forest folk, are seduced by woodland sylphs, pay a visit to the island of the dead and, in the most interesting sequence, have an extended stay in the Halls of Summer, a land of the Lotus Eaters where the heroes of legend still live and the godlike Lord of the Forest rules supreme. Rohan labors mightily but this is seldom more than a reshuffling of Tolkien motifs.