In the wake of his disastrous escape, Cob — the Guardian vessel — is determined to free the spirit that possesses him, even if it means working with heretics. But when he learns that the only solution is the same necromancy that trapped the Guardian inside him, he is thrust into the center of the age-old conflict between the Guardian and the wraiths who brought magic to the world. With friends both old and new in tow, he sets out to find the Accursed Thornland of Haaraka and the benevolent necromancers said to dwell within, hunted not only by wraiths and the Phoenix Empire’s armies but by the man who placed the bonds: the Ravager’s vessel, known to Cob as Morshoc.
As his enemies harry him across the Imperial Heartlands, upheavals are happening elsewhere: for Captain Sarovy of the Crimson Claw, for Geraad Iskaen of the Silent Circle, and for the Crimson General himself.
Old illusions will fail, secrets rise to the light — but even the truth may be a trap.