Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of the Arthur C. Clarke Award Winner Children of Time, brings you an epic fantasy series of war and empire. In this first volume, an ancient empire sets its sights on conquering its allies, threatening decades of peace. But only one man sees war is coming. Now with a new cover look. The city states of the Lowlands have lived in peace and prosperity for decades, hailed as bastions of civilization and sophistication. That peace is about to end. Far from the Lowlands, an ancient empire has been conquering city after city with its highly trained armies and sophisticated combat techniques. Now it's set its sights on a new prize. Only the ageing Stenwold Maker - spymaster, artificer and statesman - can see the threat. So it falls upon his shoulders to open the eyes of his people. For war will sweep across their lands, burning away everything in its path. Yet first, he must stop himself from becoming the empire's latest victim.