The great fires have gone out. The heavens are stalked by storm and darkness. The holdings of men are scattered, broken, disparate. The wilderness has reclaimed the land. This is the world in 198 Anno Cataclysmos, since the monks of Haven began their count. Now, in this dark and dying age, the survivors of the Burners and thrax turn upon each other. For the monks of Haven, the chiefest good is knowledge, and the written word. For the folk of Groton there can be nothing that gainsays their holy writ-including the sacred library that informs the Province of all things past.
Tiber the Novice must go with the snide Brother Berengar to seek aid from the strange cousins of Haven, the lords of Sikorsky. Westward, they must travel, along the broken high roads of the ancient ones, over the icy waters of the Low Tonic, and into the foreboding halls of Sikorsky Castle. There can be no victory without the aid of the Duke, and even with it they will match sword and shield against ancient weapons.
Meanwhile, the Dragon, long prophesied, stirs. Vera the machine-speaker travels with her scavenging tribesfolk toward Haven. The Province is poised on the brink of a new devastation.