Third and, apparently, last in the series (Knight or Knave, 2001, etc.). In the North, the powers and ambitions of the evil creature known as the Great One continue to grow, threatening Rendel and all the lands of the south. Already besieged by unremitting snow and frigid temperatures, the south must now contend with the Great One's armies, both human and nonhuman, and his Ice Dragons whose breath is ice, not fire. Only a grand alliance might defeat the invaders. Young Rohan willingly commits his Sea-Rovers and their ships; Gaurin pledges his Nodors; but Tusser and his irascible Bog-folk are less easy to persuade. Gaurin's wife Ashen, whose magic is growing in power if not control, and the Wysen-wyf Zazar (she's secretly one of the Fates) must somehow convince the Dowager Ysa to engage Rendelsham's power, but Ysa is wedded to her intrigues and political meddling. Allied with the Great One is the sorceress Flavielle; she effortlessly seduces Rendelsham's High Marshal, Harous, who thereupon attempts to lead Gaurin, Rohan, and Tusser into a trap. And even if the allies can defeat the Great One's armies and dragons, it will require powerful magic indeed to vanquish the Great One himself.
Nothing much new or different amid the welter of battles, plots, betrayals, and maneuvers: still, a churning and spirited if unsurprising conclusion to this agreeable series.