When a band of shadowy fanatics abducts Javin Wollstone's sister, Bella, from his care, his family's only hope to bring her home is turning to a hard-bitten band of mercenaries, the Black Furies, led by Commander Rusk. Javin follows Rusk and his men through a maze of political intrigues, religious fanaticism, and centuries of distrust. Little do they know that Bella Wollstone could be the spark that sets off a war of Armageddon. Across trackless, pirate-infested seas and into ancient lands of prophets and priest-kings, Javin and the Black Furies pursue Bella's captors into the teeth of the serpent, trying to snatch her back before the beast swallows her forever. Javin finds himself torn between his genteel, noble upbringing, the scars of war, and the raw, brutal necessity of what he must do to save her life.