An evil not seen in hundreds of years has awakened in the highland nation of Badelgard. The Ulfr - the original inhabitants of the land whose evil was matched only by their power over death - stir from their barrows. The dead walk again at the command of an Ulfr witch. The fate of the High King and the possession of the High Throne grow more and more uncertain. Tensions flare between the lowborn commoners and the highborn descendants of the Seven Wardens. In the middle of it all, the lowborn musician Brand Gutlaffson is thrust into a perilous chase thanks to the foolish decisions of his friend, the warrior Gunnar Whoreson. Their midnight flight takes them to the accursed land of Blackfold, where the ancient Ulfr goddess waits for Her awakening. The cold begins to set in. But there is more to fear than darkness and snow in this Fell Winter. This book begins the "Ulfr Crisis" trilogy.