In this long-awaited finale to the Dormia trilogy, the dreaded nursery rhyme comes to life at last as a "dark shadow tree" threatens to cause the "world's end." And who will stop it? Alfonso is now an ageling, Resuza and Hill are slaves, Bilblox appears to be a traitor, and Leif is shipwrecked on the edge of a forbidding forest. An ancient prophecy states that the tree can be destroyed, but the price must be paid in blood, and whoever tries faces certain death. Nonetheless, a hero must journey northward, across the great polar expanse, to Dargora - the mythical city built of ice and human bones - and make the sacrifice before it's too late.
All hope rests with a hooded girl, trudging her way through miles of desolate land. She walks slowly, carefully, methodically. Every so often, she stops to listen. She senses that she is being followed, but she is more concerned with the contents of her backpack. Nestled inside is a newborn baby, and he must be protected. He is all that matters. Soon the world will be as lifeless as the ground she is walking on, and only her charge can change the course of fate.