Trasamund, a clan chief of the mammoth-herding Bizogots, the next tribe north, has come to town with strange news. A narrow gap has opened in what they'd always thought was an endless and impregnable wall of ice. The great Glacier does not go on forever - and on its other side are new lands, new animals, and possibly new people.
Ancient legend says that on the other side is the Golden Shrine, put there by the gods to guard the people of their world. Now, perhaps, the road to the legendary Golden Shrine is open. Who could resist the urge to go see? Not Hamnet Thyssen or Trasamund. Not Ulric Skakki, Hamnet's old comrade in arms: a good man to have at your side, although perhaps not at your back. And not, damnably, Eyvind Torfinn - a scholar, a very knowledgeable man but, alas, the husband of Hamnet's former wife, Gudrid: a troublemaker if there ever was one. She's decided to come along, too.
For every one of them, the Glacier has always been the boundary of the world. Now they'll be traveling beyond it into a world that's bigger than anyone knew. Adventures will surely be had...
But one region has festered for decades: Europe, whose despots and monarchs can barely contain the simmering anger of their people. From Ireland to Scandinavia, Italy to Spain, European fundemantalists have carried out assassinations, hijackings, and bombings on their own soil and elsewhere. Extremist fundamentalist leaders have begun calling for a "crusade", an obscure term from the mists of European history.
Now Khalid has been sent to Rome, ground zero of backwater discontent. He and his partner Dawud have been tasked with figuring out how to protect the tinpot Grand Duke, the impoverished Pope, and the overall status quo, before European instability starts overflowing into the First World.
Then the bombs start to go off.
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