Peace has never come easy among the nations of Pathran, a world where gods walk among mortal humans and interfere with their affairs. The Irkalian Empire under a new ruler is looking northward to reclaim the Sarathian Kingdom, at the same time that the nomadic Gheradi tribes, led by a former slave and a vengeful god, are massing for an invasion on the Empire's southern border. A greater army than all of them, however, waits on the other side of gates held shut by the forbidden magic of a forgotten race.
Sarathian spymaster Poliad Seramin masquerades as the priest of a fictitious god while setting up a spy ring in the Empire's capital, aided by a street boy named Scuttle whose eidetic memory may be of more import than anyone expected. Counselor Jovani bargains for his emperor's success by making a deal with Mekhral, the God of Death. And war hero Cardan Stiller seeks relief from his gambling debts by agreeing to lead an expedition to a strange fortress of Belar, God of War.
When the gates open, releasing an unstopping, bloodthirsty host from another realm, deities and humans must choose new alliances to keep Pathran from being overrun with slaughter, but one god's hidden plan may keep the doorways open forever.