It is a time of darkness in the villages of the Free Herns.
This peaceful rural community is beset by troubles: their crops are failing, their children are dying of mysterious illnesses and the land is increasingly falling into the grip of an icy winter. Men whisper that these woes are not natural in origin but are symptoms of the return of an ancient dread. In nearby Wychwood dark spirits stir amid the trees and it is said that the shades of the dead have risen from their centuries-old graves in the forest. An evil that until now has merely been in slumber has finally chosen to awaken.
For Jon Camber, a young man from the village of Three Willows, it is a time of destiny.
When an ancient talisman, the wyrdstone Draupnir, comes into Jon’s possession little does he realise that this is only the beginning of what will be a long journey of discovery for him and his close friends Coll Farrow and Mirian Brede. He quickly realises that this pretty little trinket is in some way linked to the strange occurrences in his homeland. Others soon come after the gem he holds: the wizard-like Order of the Flame, the cruel Lady Morgwen and her Clansmen, and worst of all the dark creatures of Wychwood forest.
It soon becomes clear that the ancient lord of the wood, a nameless evil power that men refer to only as the Liche King, Lord of the Dead, is rising once more and that his twisted servants are flocking to his dark banner. Imprisoned since the terrible Age of Ice, the Liche King has somehow weakened the seals on his prison and the only chance to prevent his rising rests in Jon’s hands. For Draupnir’s power is every bit as great as that of the Lord of the Dead and only through it can he be sealed away from the world again.
But there is risk in using Draupnir, for its power is one that corrupts quickly. Jon must journey to Cromlech Tor, barrow of the Liche King, deep within Wychwood and confront the spirit of the undead lord by wielding the wyrdstone. In doing so he must also take care to resist the power of Draupnir, for if Jon allows the jewel to corrupt him as it has done to many others before him then not only his fate but the future of his people will be forfeit.