Nicholas Valiarde is a passionate, embittered nobleman with an enigmatic past. Consumed by thoughts of vengeance, he is consoled only by thoughts of the beautiful, dangerous Madeline. He is also the greatest thief in all of Ile-Rien... On the gaslight streets of the city, Nicholas assumes the guise of a master criminal, stealing jewels from wealthy nobles to finance his quest for vengeance: The murder of Count Montesq. Montesq orchestrated the wrongful execution of Nicholas's beloved godfather on false charges of necromancy - the art of divination through communion with spirits of the dead - a practice long outlawed in the kingdom of Ile-Rien.
But now Nicholas's murderous mission is being interrupted by a series of eerie, unexplainable, even fatal events. Someone with tremendous magical powers is opposing him. Children vanish, corpses assume the visage of real people, mortal spells are cast, and traces of necromantic power that hasn't been used for centuries are found. And when a spiritualist unwittingly leads Nicholas to a decrepit mansion, the monstrous nature of his peril finally emerges in harrowing detail. Nicholas and his compatriots must destroy an ancient and awesome evil. Even the help of Ile-Rien's greatest sorcerer may not be enough, for Nicholas faces a woefully mismatched battle - and unthinkable horrors await the loser.
"Wells continues to demonstrate an impressive gift for creating finely detailed fantasy worlds rife with many-layered intrigues and immensely personable characters." (Publishers Weekly)
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