In the Woerld, Lucian is in exile, and is his sister's prisoner. She has tortured and lamed him, and there is nothing he can do to prevent her diabolic plans going forward. (Literally. Her hound Cerebus has only one head, but is clearly a demonic familiar.) But one day in his wanderings about the city, hoping that something would kill him, he comes across Father Matthew, who reminds him of his past service as a Katharos, and inspires him with hope, and gives him an escape.
In our day and age, Lindsey comes out out ballet class frustrated, and she and her brother Pete are drawn into the Crimson Veil, and separated by. Lindsey is caught in Hell, and Lucian, forbidden to open Hell Gates for the crimes that exiled him, has to open it to save her, his new foundling. He explains that the Woerld is the place between Earth and Hell, and people are drawn through the Veil because they have the talents to help hold back Hell.
His sister's men chase them.
This means, back at his old citadel, they have to send a judge for him. It falls to Rachael, the woman he betrayed in his crimes. She has already Pete -- savaged by jackals behind the Veil, and dying. Still, she set out.
It goes through some very dark adventures along the way. Involving roses where the flowers look up like human faces, breaking down a bridge by magic, names written in blood. An intriguing story.
The opening chapter read a bit too much like a sequel. Not that it started too soon, but I think the backstory, though vital, perhaps could have stood be smoothed in a little more.
Also, in this world, there are half a dozen religious practices -- all real world, she was bold -- and all efficacious against Hell, and I found a little odd that no one seems to have indulged in any real syncretism. Though, to be sure, Lucian does think that a common enemy helps them tolerate each other.
Good book, nonetheless.