In this final installment of the trilogy (The Ships of Air, 2004, etc.), the land of Ile-Rien has been invaded by the Gardier, wizards who derive their invincible powers from crystals inside which the souls of sorcerers are trapped.
Now, Tremaine Valiarde, with her husband, Ilias the wizard-slayer, and Ilias’ companion, Giliead, a Chosen One of the gods, follow the trail of Arisilde, once Ile-Rien’s most powerful wizard, now resident—at least, part of him—inside one of the mechanical spheres he invented to deflect Gardier magic. Before he became trapped in the sphere, however, Arisilde explored the Gardier ability to travel between worlds via magical gates. One of these, Tremaine and company learn, leads to a vast cave in which hundreds of gate circles are etched into the rock. But where do they lead? Tremaine comes across a party of Aelin also trapped in the cave, innocent people from the Gardier world before it was transformed by warfare and the evil sorcerer-crystals. If Tremaine can learn how the Gardier world was remade, she may have a clue as to how to defeat the Gardier wizards. Meanwhile, back in Ile-Rien, as Gardier bombs fall on the city, the malevolent Syprian wizard Ixion corrupts Ile-Rien’s unsuspecting war leaders, and Tremaine’s father, Nicholas, schemes to rescue the Rienish sorcerers trapped in the besieged city of Lodun.
A yarn borne aloft by its well-above-average characters, including an appealingly brave, flawed heroine, with a plot that merely trudges along. In then end, a trilogy that promised more than it delivered.