We open with the end of the world in the aftermath of an apocalyptic battle, with the survivors - Kasimir, valraven steed of a slain waelcyrge; Muire, child of the Light, one of the wardens of Valdyrgard, poet, historian, metalworker; the Wolf, older than the world itself and has played his part in the ending of it. And after a chapter that establishes the characters (particularly Muire) the story jumps forward nearly two & a half thousand years to the aftermath of another apocalypse. As the book puts it:
Worlds, like gods, are a long time dying, and the deathblow dealt the children of the Light did not stop a civilization of mortal men from rising in their place, inventing medicine and philosophy, metallurgy and space flight.
Until they in turn fell, two-hundred-odd years ago, in a Desolation that left all Valdyrgard a salted garden. All of it, that is, except the two cities - Freimarc and Eiledon - that lingered. Life is tenacious. Even on the brink of death, it holds the battlements and snarls.
And in this end of the world, Muire, Kasimir and the Wolf still live among the shattered remnants of the human civilisation. It's a world of both technology and magic - where at one moment there are recognisable computing devices, and at another we're meeting a modified catwoman created from a cat, sorcery and a relic of the past or a modified ratman mage-engineer. The story is primarily Muire's, although parts are from other points of view. But she's the central figure, and we follow her from grief-stricken survivor's guilt through to a realisation that perhaps the world can be reborn (albeit at great cost to herself).
Click here to read the rest of my review on my blog.