The virus is sweeping through the human community. The Drek war machine continues to press forward, capturing and converting millions of humans. And the Ynos begin their military attacks in earnest, destroying Imperium forces at will. This is the Imperium that Ailanthus has inherited as the new emperor and he is making it perfectly clear that he doesn't want anything to do with it. Ailanthus will be betrayed, he will lose two close friends and his responsibilities as the new emperor will make it harder and harder for him to remain sane. Meanwhile, Lord Cardinal Cebrenia is working ever closer to control of The Church of the Blessed Prophets and her revenge and the Lord Cardinal Nerodia is getting closer and closer to insanity as all his hard work begins to slip through his fingers.