When Maximilian, King of Escator, finally finds an appropriate bride, he has some misgivings. Ishbel, his intended, hails from Serpents Nest, the home of the mysterious cult, The Coil. Indeed, Maximilian suspects that Ishbel is deeply involved with the Coil, though she professes merely to have been under their protection. Still, Maximilian knows he must marry Ishbel and, when he meets her, falls deeply in love with her. The marriage will not be an easy one, but it must take place. Meanwhile, deep in the south, Isaiah, Tyrant of Isembaard, is massing an army, a massive invasion force to ride north. His generals believe that it is because he needs a victory to win their trust. But Isaiah, who is not all that he seems, knows that there is much more at stake than his rule over Isembaard. Deep beneath Darkglass Mountain, something terrible is awakening, coming to the surface to destroy all life, all peace. Men who have been enemies and strangers must unite if the Lord of Elcho Falling is to restore any semblance of peace.