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A son of a forest dwelling people, Yhalen knows little of the world outside the ancestral forest, until he is captured by a band of ogres on a slave-taking mission. Only grim tales of the barbaric giants had reached the forest, but Yhalen soon learns that even the darkest fireside story only hinted at the brutality of these Northern warriors. He discovers the meaning of true fear at their hands, and only the awakening of ancient magic saves him from destruction.
Surviving ogre viciousness, he finds himself given to Bloodraven, the half ogre, half human war leader as a slave. Yhalen, refusing to bend, soon pays the price for offending prickly ogre pride.
But Bloodraven is no mindless, violent ogrish beast. Bloodraven has an agenda and Yhalen finds himself drawn in the wake into human and ogre politics, into bloodshed and cruelty and into the forbidden magic that is damnation in the eyes of his own people, but which might mean the difference between death and salvation.