Run-of-the-mill sword and sorcery proceedings, conducted in one of those poorman's-Mary Renault styles involving lots of fancy touches like "She bit upon her lower lip," together with many grave "fors," "sos," "suches," and "such-as-es." Yonan, the narrator, a diligent but unpromising young warrior-in-training in the household of a distant kinswoman, chances on the hilt of an ancient sword. Quite speedily it transpires that Tolar, the original owner, has returned (after being dead a few centuries) to share Yonan's body. Deep in the subterranean warrens of the noxious Thas, the hilt once more finds a blade and Tolar finds an ancient comrade in arms. Together they journey into the past to undo the disastrous errors of their long-ago "Lost Battle." The narrative is then taken up by Yonan's distant cousin Crytha, whose strange unrealized powers are of great interest to the sorceress Laidan--another one-time participant in the Lost Battle with a plan for revamping the outcome. Competent, inoffensive stuff for the dark-rune and blazing-brand audience.