The Goddess of Elda, the Rose of the World, is now free and married to King Ravn of the Northern Isles. But the ships of the Southern Empire, under the fanatical leadership of Lord Tycho Issian, are bringing holy war to the North ; and she may soon become a prize of combat. Meanwhile, Katla Aransen bas been abducted by Istrian raiders and finds herself in the harem of Rui Finco, Lord of Forent, There she will learn for herself the hardship suffered by the women of the South.
And Saro Virago is imprisoned beneath the Etemal City, listening to the cries of those tortured by his mad brother, Tanto, Tycho Issian's henchman. Clan he escape and put an end to his brother's atrocities ? Forces are gathering for a terrible war. North will fight South and all those caught in the vice of their passage will be crushed - unless guardianship of Elda is taken from the bloody hands of the warmongers and returned to those who truly care for it.