Once, John Toffler's concerns were limited to wringing rent out of his mysterious roommate, Kyle, and measuring the growth rate of moss for his graduate studies. Then one morning he opened a letter intended for Kyle and his ordinary, modern life vanished.
Now, having escaped the desolation of Basawar's wastes and a brutal battle between Fai'daum revolutionaries and
Guan'im cavalry, John has climbed the Thousand Steps to the heights of Rathal'pesha in search of a way home.
Among the mystic warrior priests, he witnesses astounding magic and learns that the golden key he lost-the one that can open a Great Gate and allow him and his friends to return home-lies within his reach.
But not even the remote mountain monastery of Rathal'pesha is safe from violent turmoil in an age of rebellion and religious warfare. Soon John is drawn into the heart of a power struggle that will decide who will live and who will die on the Holy Road.