In the western sky, the bright emerald banner of the Visitor descends like a portent of annihilation.
On the continent of Jacuruku, the Thaumaturgs have mounted another expedition to tame the wild jungle that is their neighbour. Yet this is no normal wilderness. Named Himatan, it is said to be both of the spirit realm and of the earth. It is also said that it is ruled over by a powerful entity some call the Queen of Witches and others the ancient goddess Ardata. Saeng has grown up knowing only life under the Thaumaturgs - but it is the voices of her country's forgotten past that speak to her. And when these magician rulers begin their invasion of Himatan, the voices strengthen - urging Saeng and her brother to undertake a desperate mission.
To the south, the desert tribes are united by the arrival of a foreign war leader, a veteran commander in battered mail. His men call him the Grey Ghost and he will lead these tribes on a raid like none that has gone before - deep into the heart of Thaumaturg lands.
And then the mercenary Crimson Guard are issued a contract against a renegade of their ranks. Skinner has returned to Jacuruku and is rumoured to want to reclaim a kingdom he once held. And who are the Guard to refuse the command of a god...
Ian Cameron Esslemont (born 1962) is a Canadian writer. He was trained and has worked as an archaeologist. He is best known for his series Novels of the Malazan Empire, which is set in the same world as the Malazan Book of the Fallen epic fantasy series popularised by his friend and collaborator, Steven Erikson. Esslemont is the co-creator of the Malazan world.