Continuation of Bear's Norse apocalyptic fantasy yarn (All the Windwracked Stars, 2008, etc.), picking up the narrative half a century after the warrior-angel Muire became a goddess, walked into the sea and kick-started the devastated planet's regeneration.
Cathoair and his fellow angels, now unemployed, occupy themselves with travel and small acts of kindness and assistance that improve the welfare of all. Later, Cathoair—who also goes by Cahey—must return to the city Eiledon to raise his infant son. However, the adversary, the evil goddess Heythe, who previously attempted to destroy the world, slides forward in time to work new mischief. Cathmar, for so Cathoair/Cahey rather confusingly names his son, grows quickly and with a minimum of adolescent angst. Heythe takes the guise of a beautiful young woman, Mardoll, and insinuates herself into the consciousness of both Cathoair and the now-teenaged Cathmar. Mingan, the guardian warrior-wolf who can move imperceptibly in and out of other dimensions, notices but resolves to wait and see. But amid all this waiting and seeing, nothing much happens. Cathoair, it seems, requires psychological reconstruction and both sides vie to supply it by offering sadomasochistic sex on the one hand or soul-searching mental vampirism on the other. For uncommitted readers the process is difficult to follow and largely devoid of interest, with the biggest problem a lack of new ideas—recycled tatters of the previous book don't hack it.
Committed fans face inevitable disappointment; newcomers will find little reason to bother.