The war between the orcs and the dwarves has ended in an uneasy truce. Both sides think that it can’t last. Obould wants to build a new kingdom, a kingdom for orcs. He sees a chance to create a kingdom like other races, to build cities, to engage in trade. This is not in the orcish tradition. Many of his followers are waiting for the war to start again. The dwarves do not trust the orcs. Orcish nature is to kill and plunder. Some of Obould’s closest advisors are working against him in the shadows. They send for a clan of half-orcs half-ogres to see if they can push Obould into a fight with the dwarves.
In the meantime Wulfgar and Catti-Brie set out to find Wulfgar’s adopted daughter. His wife, alone and afraid, fell under the spell of the sentient sword Khazid’hea. She handed their daughter over to a refugee and headed out, only to be slain by orcs. Now Wulfgar wants his daughter back. After finding her he leaves Catti-Brie to journey back to the north. He needs to discover his place in the world.
Bruenor is unhappy with an orc horde at his door. More than that he wants to find the ancient dwarven city of Gauntlgrym. He believes that he may have seen it at an earlier time just before the orc war started. With Drizzt, Regis, Pwent, and others he travels to the location. There he finds not what he is looking for, but simply more puzzles.
The stage is set, can Obould control his unruly horde? Will Wulfgar find his way home? Will the truce end? What can Regis learn from the scrolls taken from the buried city? These are the questions that have to be answered. The ending is quite surprising as Salvatore takes a major step in the development of his characters. A lot of great story telling and a lot of groundbreaking work. Salvatore hits it out of the park again.