The party led by Quenthel Baenre journeys to the drow city of Ched Nasad in hopes of learning more about Lloth's silence. The beginning of the book is mostly a running battle as Quenthel Baenre foolishly commands the party to travel through the domain of Kaanyr Vhok who immediately dispatches his Tanarukk soldiers (led by an Alu-fiend) to destroy the party. The Alu-fiend takes an interest in Pharaun Mizzrym early but continues to harry them. The party eventually makes it to Ched Nasad.
Once there, they realize Ched Nasad is in real danger. The city is very much in conflict as the lesser races have taken to the streets and violence is around every corner. One of Ched Nasad's noble houses has contracted with a Duergar mercenary band to attack the city (A plot which they believe will ultimately make their house rise to power). Unfortunately for the drow, the duergar do too good of a job with their stonefire bombs and in the ensuing battle Ched Nasad is destroyed. Quenthel's party fights at every turn to try and escape the doomed city and eventually they reach a portal (with the help of two new female additions to the party named Halisstra Melarn and Danifae). The book ends just as the drow party escape through the portal and the City's Calcified web strands give out causing Ched Nasad to fall to its doom.
This book introduces the characters Halisstra and Danifae to the drow party, both of whom go on to become prominent in the rest of the series.