An army of corpses had been summoned. . . In the centuries following the collapse of the Great Empire, what remained of the Middle Kingdom was overrun by the ruthless warlords and mercenary armies. But from afar, the Order of Magicians and Wizards watched over the delicate balance between the empires of the North and South. Then the unspeakable happened, the renegade Vladur, banished by the Order for practicing the black art of necromancy, allied himself with the North and threatened to engulf the world in chaos. From their mountain fortress, the Order dispatched their youngest, most talented wizard: Crispan Magicker. Child prodigy, consummate conjurure, Master of the Five Arts, who crosses the arid and deadly Karsh to rescue the besieged city of Zifkar -- and who learns to use his powers to kill. But nothing can prepare him for the horror of the final confrontation. Alone, at the head of the Southern Armies, he faces his former mentor, the black magician Vladur, and his army of the dead.