A war-dragon of Babel crashes in the idyllic fields of a post-industrialized Faerie and, dragging himself into the nearest village, declares himself king and makes young Will, a half-mortal elf ,to be his lieutenant.
After Will manages to destroy the beast, the fearful villagers exile him and Will travels with a female centaur soldiers, witnesses the violent clash of giants, and acquires a surrogate daughter, Esme, who has no knowledge of the past and may be immortal. .
The dragon lives on in Will's brain, however, and he repairs to decadent Babel to plan vengeance for all he has suffered.
He becomes apprenticed to con man par excellence Nat, and thereafter a hero to the denizens of the many tunnels beneath Babel, who flock to join the Army of the Night and fight the topsiders.
- When that force is decimated, Will disguises himself and rejoins Nat for a complicated scam on the Babelites
Inside the Dread Tower, Will becomes a hero to the homeless living in the tunnels under the city, rises as an underling to a politician, and finds his one true love, a high elven woman to whom he dare not aspire to.
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