The Moontide has come, and a scarlet tide of Rondian legions is flooding into the East, slaughtering and pillaging in the name of Emperor Constant. But the Scytale of Corineus, the source of ultimate magical power, has slipped through the emperor's fingers. His ruthless Inquisitors are desperately seeking the artefact, before it falls into the hands of those who would bring down the Empire. But there are some who have pledged to end the cycle of war and restore peace to Urte. They are the unlikeliest of heroes: a failed mage, a gypsy and a lowly market-girl. As East and West clash more violently than ever before, Urte will discover that love, loyalty and truth can be forged into weapons as deadly as swords and magic.