|“|| After the devastating battle at the Tower of Charm, Croaker leads the greatly diminished Black Company south, in search of the lost Annals. The Annals will be returned to Khatovar, eight thousand miles away, a city that may exists only in legend... the origin of the first Free Companies.
Every step of the way the Company is hounded by shadowy figures and carrion-eating crows. As they march ever southward, through bug-infested jungle, rivers dense with bloodthirsty pirates, and cities, dead and living, haunted by the passage of the Company north, their numbers grow until they are thousands strong.
But always they are watched—by the Shadowmasters—a deadly new enemy: twisted creatures that deal in darkness and death; powerful, shadowy creatures bent on smothering the world in their foul embrace. This is the first round in a deadly game, a game that the Black Company cannot hope to win...
–From the back cover