Thousands of years before the rise of men, the dwarfs and elves are stalwart allies and enjoy a era of unrivalled peace and prosperity. But when dwarf trading caravans are attacked and their merchants slain, the elves are accused of betrayal. Quick to condemn the people of Ulthuan as traitors, the mountain lords nevertheless try to prevent conflict, but the elves' arrogance undoes any chance of reconciliation and war is inevitable.
Snorri Halfhand, son of the High King and no particular friend of the elves, is at the vanguard of the war with his cousin Morgrim Blackbeard. At the city of Tor Alessi a vast army stands against the dwarfs. Here Snorri will meet his destiny against the elven King Caledor as the first blow is struck in a conflict that could bring about the fall of two great civilisations.