In this, the second book of the epic trilogy begun in The Forging of the Shadows, the once-glorious city of Thrull has become a place of death and despair. Seven years before, Lord Faran Groton, High Priest of the God of Darkness, overthrew Thrull and set loose his army of vampires to plague the city, waiting for the day the sun would rise no more...But the God of Light has his champions as well. A motley trio of survivors searches for the three ancient artifacts which can defeat the darkness. Traveling far beyond their own lands, they will encounter nightmares and disasters before facing their most dangerous enemies -- the Dark-born Nations of the Night!
The first book of the Lightbringer Trilogy (Forging of the Shadows) introduced Lord Faran Gaton Nekron, high priest of the evil God of Darkness Iss, who was bound to overthrow Reh, God of Light. Although Nekron's vampire armies had conquered the great city of Thrull, hope remained in the recovery of three great artifacts--the Rod of the Shadows, the sword of Dragonstooth, and Talos, the Man of Bronze, said to live in the distant Forest of Lorn. This sequel opens with Jayal Illgill, son of the Baron of Thrull, in possession of Dragonstooth and journeying north to Lorn with his comrades-in-arms, who include the masked fire mage Urthred, the healer Alanda and Thalassa, the Lightbringer of prophesy. There they plan to meet Baron Illgill, who carries the Rod of the Shadows, and unite their powers to drive back the Dark once and for all. Trials and tribulations along the way include healing Thalassa (who was bitten by a vampire in the first novel), and staying one step ahead of Lord Faran, who will stop at nothing to destroy them. The secret of Urthred's mysterious past, somehow linked to Lorn and the ruined city of Ravenspur (now host to the Dark-dwelling Nations of the Night), also figures strongly. Although Johnson's main characters are well drawn, his narrative is choppy and episodic, with much melodrama and rushing around, only to have nearly all the fuss wrapped up in the last few chapters. Hopefully, he will restore some much-needed focus to the concluding book of the series.