Over the course of three extraordinary novels, Martha Wells has established herself as a master builder of alternate worlds peopled with souls as rich and complex as any that have ever known life within book pages. Few writers can match her ability to imbue fantastic realms with such startling immediacy and reality—a feat she accomplishes more impressively than ever before in this powerful tale of the beginnings and endings and beginnings again in an unending cycle of malignity and good.
Every year in the great Temple City of Duvalpore, the image of the Wheel of the Infinite must be painstakingly remade to ensure another year of peace and harmony for the Celestial Empire. Every hundred years the sacred rite takes on added significance. For it is then that the very fabric of the world must be rewoven. Linked by the mystic energies of the Infinite, the Wheel and world are one. Should the holy image be marred, the world will suffer a similar injury.
But a black storm is spreading across the Wheel. Every night the Voices of the Ancestors—the Wheel's constructors and caretakers—brush the darkness away and repair the damage with brightly colored sands and potent magic. Each morning the storm reappears, bigger and darker than before, unraveling the beautiful and orderly patterns.
With chaos in the wind, a woman with a shadowy past has returned to Duvalpore. A murderer and traitor—an exile disgraced, hated, and feared, and haunted by her own guilty conscience—Maskelle has been summoned back to help put the world right. Once she was the most revered of the Voices, until cursed by her own actions. Now, in the company of Rian—a skilled and dangerously alluring swordsman—she must confront dread enemies old and new and a cold, stalking malevolence unlike any she has ever encountered. For if Maskelle cannot unearth the cause of the Wheel's accelerating disintegration—if she cannot free herself from ghosts of the past and focus on the catastrophe to come—the world will plunge headlong into the terrifying abyss toward which it is recklessly hurting. And all that is, ever was, and will be will end.
An intricate, tautly plotted adventure, Nebula Award finalist Martha Wells's fourth novel is her most captivating and exquisitely textured work to date. Follow the many turnings of the Wheel into a realm of danger, fear, darkness, and hope. And prepare to believe freely and fully in the inconceivable and the fantastic.