Weakened by events in Darujhistan, the Malazan Empire teeters on the brink of anarchy. In the vast dominion of Seven Cities, in the Holy Desert Raraku, the seer Sha'ik gathers an army around her in preparation for the long-prophesied uprising named the Whirlwind. Unprecedented in its size and savagery, it will embroil in one of the bloodiest conflicts it has ever known: a maelstrom of fanaticism and bloodlust that will shape destinies and give birth to legends.
The Seven Cities Rebellion is over, Sha'ik is dead, but a last rebel force remains, holed up in the city of Y'Ghatan under the fanatical command of Leoman of the Flails. The prospect of laying siege to this ancient fortress makes the battle-weary Malaz 14th Army uneasy - for it was here that the Empire's greatest champion Dassem Ultor was slain and a tide of Malazan blood spilled.
The Letherii Empire is in turmoil. Rhulad Sengar, the Emperor of a Thousand Deaths, spirals into madness, while the Errant, once a farseeing god, appears suddenly blind to the future. Driven by the corruption and self-interest, the empire edges ever-closer to all-out war with its neighbouring kingdoms., And the great Edur fleet draws ominously ever closer.