It is a nameless city somewhere between past and future, a mythic realm at the "heart of the world," where wicked Rat Lords have reduced all humankind to slaves, and god-daemons make the decision to end all existence. This energizes a compelling quest for survival, and prompts the powerful White Crow to order an uprising against this chaotic strike that threatens them all. Among those who respond to her are the defiant Prince Lucas of Candover, a student at the University of Crime, and no mans's slave; and Zari, the young Katayan woman who is destined to become the living Memory of all that follows. And others rally to join them in one final desperate revolt, hoping to create a magic powerful enough to reshape the very nature of how they live.
Mercenaries in lace and steel roam the countryside and the heads of criminals are impaled on London Bridge. The characters' relationships are played out in the shadow of the hangman's rope. Sequel to Rats and Gargoyles.
The White Crow, one-time Soldier-Scholar of the Invisible College and a practioner of Hermetic science and magic, and Baltazar Casaubon, architect and lover, a man not too particular about his personal hygiene, are two of Mary Gentle's finest creations. The worlds they stride across range from the Renaissance city where aristocratic rats rule the human servant class, to a near-future London where chaos is come again. They are two of the most powerful players in the games of magic and politics, and the most colourful. This volume brings together three brilliantly imaginative, powerful and disturbing tales - Rats and Gargoyles, The Architecture of Desire and Left to His Own Devices - and the linked short fiction and confirms Mary Gentle as one of the foremost writers of dark and visionary fantasy.