Welcome to the world of the Instrumentalities of the Night, where imps, demons, and dark gods rule in the spaces surrounding upstart humanity. At the edges of the world stand walls of ice which push slowly forward to reclaim the land for the night. And at the world's center, in the Holy Land where two great religions were born, are the Wells of Ihrain, the source of the greatest magics.
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It's cold. The wells of power are weakening and the forces of Night grow strong. The gods are real, and still have some power, mostly to do harm. The Instrumentalities of the Night are the worst of these. Piper Hecht, born Else Tage, survived a battle with the Instrumentalities. Now he's Captain-General of the armies fighting a crusade for Patriarch Sublime V. Intrigues swirl around the throne of the Grail Empire, as the imperial family's enemy, Anne of Menand, raises money to help the perpetually indebted Patriarch finance his crusades.
Piper Hecht's first and greatest secret is that he knows how to kill gods. What's not a secret is that he knowshow to win wars Piper Hecht's secrets make him dangerous, but his skill and his reputation put him in danger - from his enemies, who fear what he might do, or who want revenge for what he has already done; and from his friends, who want to use his military gifts for their own purposes. His sister Heris and his living ancestor Cloven Februaren, the Ninth Unknown, have made Hecht part of their fight against the return of the dark god Kharoulke the Windwalker.
Arnhand, Castauriga, and Navaya lost their kings. The Grail Empire lost its empress. The Church lost its Patriarch, though he lives on as a fugitive. The Night lost Kharoulke the Windwalker, an emperor amongst the most primal and terrible gods. The Night goes on, in dread. The world goes on, in dread. The ice builds and slides southward. New kings come. A new empress will rule. Another rump polishes the Patriarchal Throne. But there is something new under the sun.