Before the Malazan Empire, there was a time that set the stage for all those tales yet to be informed ... The winter season is bitter. Civil war threatens Kurald Galain for the warrior Urusander's army has started its march on the city of Kharkanas. Led by the callous Hunn Raal, it intends to cast aside Mother Dark's consort, Draconus, and set Urusander himself on the throne beside the Living Goddess. Those who would stand in the way of the rebels lie scattered and compromised - leaderless because Anomander went in search of a separated sibling. In his stead, Silchas Ruin deals with to gather the Houseblades of the Highborn families to him, and to reanimate the famous Hust Legion, however time is not on his side. Far to the west, an unlikely army musters. It looks for an opponent without kind, in a location none can discover. But Hood's call has been heard and the long-abandoned city of Omtose Phellack is now the home of a rabble of new arrivals: Dog-Runners from the south, Jheck warriors, and blue-skinned complete strangers from across the Western Sea have come to use Hood their swords. From the far-off mountains and separated valleys of the North, Thel Akai show up to pledge themselves in this seemingly impossible war. Soon, they will state with weapons drawn under the banners of the living in pursuit of Death itself. Such occasions presage chaos, and now magic bleeds into this realm. Unconstrained, mysterious and savage, it begins to run loose and wild and following its scent, seeking the locations of wounding and hurt - new and ancient entities gather. In a world ending up being rotten with sorcery, can honour really exist?