Venice: Ethan Gage has escaped after surviving the naval battle of Trafalgar. His plan: to circumvent the French Empire and rescue his wife, Astiza, and son, Harry, from imprisonment by a ruthless mystic who seeks revenge for disfigurement, and from an evil dwarf alchemist who experiments with the occult on Prague's Golden Lane.
Using death as his ruse, Gage seeks an unlikely ally in the Jewish Napoleonic soldier Gideon Mandel, who saves Ethan's life at Austerlitz, and Gideon's father, Aaron, a rabbi whose knowledge of the legends of the Golem adds another layer to the hunt for the Brazen Head. The three must decipher clues from Durendal, the sword of Roland. Meanwhile, Astiza uses her own research to concoct an explosive escape and find a lost tomb, with their tormentors in relentless pursuit.
William Dietrich skillfully weaves intrigue, magic, romance, and danger in a historical thriller that sprints from the fury of the Napoleonic wars to the mystical puzzles of Central Europe--where a medieval machine promises power over the future.