Fourth fantasy-adventure chorus to the roguish and nimble Band of Four series.
As with Parsifal’s quest in the Grail legend, King Kelgrael Snowsar is asleep and, although he awakened in A Dragon’s Ascension (2002), it happens that the gigantic Sacred Great Fanged Serpent of the Shaping is bound into slumber by the King and he can keep the Serpent sleepbound only while sleepbound himself, and so the Serpent arose to confront the Dragon. But a spell has been cast over Aglirta, and only the Band of Four seem likely to attain the four magical Dwaerindim stones that can fully awaken the land. The four include huge, dumb-as-a-post warrior, sword-swinger and Overduke of Aglirta, Hawkril Anharu; small, agile, and clever procurer-scout-thief Crael “Longfingers” Delnbone, also Overduke of Aglirta; the late Sarasper “Wolf-spider” Codelmer, a shape-shifter who goes as a bat, a snake, or man-eating wolf-spider before becoming the Dragon and dying in the battle against the Serpent and being laid to rest as Lord Dragon; and Overduke of Aglirta and Baroness of Silvertree, Lady Embra, a beautiful sorceress in gem-studded gowns who now leads the Band of Four. We find that the Band has its own dangerous mysteries that threaten its mission. All turns on the priests (or wizards) of the now-slain Serpent, who believe a new Great Serpent must arise to lead them. Fear arises that Serpent-priests, now loosing werewolves, will bring about a battle that will break up all of Asmarand, if not the whole continent of Darsar. Will beautiful Embra become the Dragon, ready to keep down the new Serpent that may arise?
Unless the Serpent rises, this rouser is the windup.