A planet orbiting binary suns, Helliconia has a Great Year spanning three millennia of Earth time: cultures are born in spring, flourish in summer, then die with the onset of the generations-long winter.
It is the summer of the Great Year on Helliconia. The humans are involved with their own affairs. Their old enemies, the phagors, are comparatively docile at this time of year, yet they can afford to wait, to take advantage of human weakness?and the king's weakness. How they do so brings to a climax this powerfully compelling novel, in which the tortuous unwindings of circumstance enmesh royalty and commoners alike, and involve the Helliconia continents.
This is the second volume of the Helliconia Trilogy?a monumental saga that goes beyond anything yet created by this master among today's imaginative writers.