Brawny barbarian Dirshan, of The War Machines of Kalinth (1977), is dusted off and recharged with blood lust for more doings in Lancour's inimitable down-by-the-old-abbatoir style. ""Meat cleaver sounds of steel in flesh rose with warm sprays of gore, mixed with the dying howls of. . . ."" Well, anyhow, this time war is afoot between the Empire of Alithar and its ambitious ally the League, led by the island city of Sart. So Dirshan, an honorary noble of the Empire, recruits the services of Handlig the Artificier (sic), maker of the League's mighty ballistas. But the sorceress Aith has Handlig locked up in his lab, reinventing things like steam-powered rotation and ruing the day he ever saw Sart. Salvation comes from a mantle of invisibility, a remarkably nimble article which is carried off in the keeping of Handlig's daughter in Chapter 9 and unaccountably produced from Dirshan's pouch in Chapter 14. Ah, well. Only the body count (surpassing Kalinth) seems to count.