Erik von Darkmoor has trained well and fought valiantly in the service of the Prince – and has risen up through the ranks to become a respected leader of men. Though still young in years, both he and boyhood friend Rupert “Roo” Avery – one of Krondor's preeminent merchants and one of the Kingdom's richest men – have been aged by experience. And each has an essential role to play in the cataclysm that is to come – as has every warrior, tradesperson, thief, spellweaver, spy, royal, and subject alike who stands to lose far more than life alone to the invading forces of darkness. For a demon king has escaped a world already devoured to feed on one consumed by chaos and war. A foul and terrifying thing, a nightmare creature of dark and murderous nature, it seeks to own and corrupt the very source of life itself. And soon more of its dread kind will follow – unless the most powerful sorcerers in the embattled realm can close forever a demon-spilling rift…and unlock a mystery far more dangerous and profound than anything ever known before.