The Moontide has arrived, the Leviathan Bridge has risen from the waves and the armies of the Third Crusade are battling to conquer the continent of Antiopia once and for all. But things are not going entirely as planned for the mighty magi of the West. Shaliyah, birthplace of the Prophet, now has a new name: Mother of Victories. Suddenly the East is rising, and Emperor Constant’s Crusade is teetering on the edge of disaster, as the unprecedented success of the Shihad becomes the catalyst for resistance across Antiopia. To Elena Anborn and Kazim Makhani, Shaliyah is a call to arms against the renegade spymaster Gurvon Gyle and his mercenary cabal. For Queen Cera Nesti of Javon, it is a beacon as she seeks new ways to overthrow her husband, the usurper king, and reclaim Javon for her brother. And Ramon Sensini, trapped behind enemy lines with the shattered remnant of the Southern Army, sees it as one more obstacle in his desperate attempt to get his men safely home. But concealed amidst the storm and fire of war, emperors, Inquisitors, Souldrinkers and assassins alike are engaged in a desperate, deadly and secret struggle to find the Scytale of Cornineus, the key to ultimate power. Its unlikely guardians are the failed mage Alaron Mercer and market girl Ramita Ankesharan - pregnant widow of the world’s greatest mage - and what they choose to do with the Scytale could change the world forever.