The snows have melted and the Knights of the Order in Brychan have begun to fight back against the DeÁine. Elsewhere the men of the Order are assembling to ship out to Brychan to come to their aid, everyone aware that if they do not turn back this threat then all the Islands may fall. There is still hope but the odds against them are mounting!
For those chosen to use the Island’s ancient weapons there are huge challenges in learning how to use them. The strange creatures created by the ancients to liaise with the weapons are willing to help, but the squints have trouble communicating without the ancients to translate for them. In this and other ways the spectral forms of the remaining ancients are often less than the help they should be, leaving the Islanders to fall back on their own experience and ingenuity. More dangerous to the success of the mission is the ancients’ tendency to always look on the worst side of situations. If the Islanders need to be united in their intent as well as their actions, then the ancients’ gloominess seeping into their weapons could yet hamper them fatally . Can the Foresters find a way to combat this? Or will the ancients let the Islanders down just when they need them most?
Amongst the Islanders, Will Montrose and those with him are already engaging the enemy on their home territory as they reach the culmination of their quest to rescue Wistan and Kenelm. Yet the two boys aren’t the only ones needing rescuing. And Will has a plan to aid the other Islanders back beyond the Brychan Mountains, but can he get the help he desperately needs from the long-enslaved folk who have spent decades crushed by the DeÁine?
For the all-powerful Abend, also, things have not gone quite as planned, and for their two leaders there are some nasty surprises in store from within their own ranks. Not least of these is the discovery that the others of the Abend have united in a common purpose without consulting them. Equally unpalatable to Quintillean and Masanae is the revelation of how inventive and what sacrifices the Islanders are prepared to make to defeat them. Can they retrieve all of their ancient weapons to use against this pestilent enemy who refuse to be conquered? And has one of them already been twisted and tainted by one of their own to orientate towards the Islanders instead of them? There is as much at stake for the Abend as for the Islanders!
By the time the Islanders have assembled on Rathlin to face the DeÁine, there have already been casualties both in early confrontations with the Donns’ forces, and in encountering traps left behind by the Abend. Despite this, all are resolved to fight on and not all is bleak – some find unexpected happiness even on the verge of battle. Come the fateful day, though, not only do they have to fight human forces but the DeÁine’s strange beasts of battle – bred and twisted from any natural form, they bring an added danger to the fight. Can the Islanders lure the beasts and their handlers away from the main force, or will they have to face them in the heat of the main battle? Will the Attacotti stand and fight with them, or will they flee and leave the Islanders to stand alone? And who is on the strange ships which come up on the rear of the battle in the wake of the new DeÁine force? Will they join with the DeÁine and utterly overwhelm the Islanders, or could they swing the battle back in the Islanders’ favour? In one long day the fate of all will be decided.
For better or worse the long journey all the characters have made is coming to a climax!