Amidst the massacre he himself helped bring about, Carnelian is now desperate to find a way to avoid more carnage. But it is too late for that. His spurned lover, Osidian, seeking revenge and determined to win back his stolen throne, has deliberately stoked the wrath of the Masters who rule the world from its centre, Osrakum. Osidian’s actions have stirred into motion political events in Osrakum which threaten to overturn the millennial repressive order of the Commonwealth.
Carnelian learns that he and those he loves are now inextricably enmeshed in the terrible power game of the Masters. If he and they are to survive, he has no choice but to play that game himself, though he does not know how. He has no choice but to stand with Osidian in defiance of the invincible power of the Masters. No choice but to take his loved ones deeper into peril.
In his struggle he will find unlooked-for allies and guidance with dreadful motives of its own. And ultimately, he will unleash apocalyptic forces which will bring him and his world to a reckoning none could have forseen, though it has been simmering for four thousand years.