Before we get started here, now would be a good time for any interested parties to get a little background information on the setting itself. The wikipedia articles, Ravnica
, and Dissension
should be considered required reading for those of you that don't know anything about the setting. But below are the more relevant details.
Ten millennia ago, the Guildpact was signed by the leaders of the ten guilds, ending ten thousand years of active warfare between them and ushering in an era of peace. But now, on the eve of the celebrations of the accord's ten thousandth anniversary, a sinister force threatens the survival of that peace.
The first novel in the Ravnica trilogy follows major players: Agrus Kos, Jarad, Fonn, Feather, Pivlic, and Savra. Each one of these characters has a part to play in the big storyline, but the main story is split between Kos and Feather, followed by Jarad and Fonn. As Pivlic is introduced to the story, all four characters come together in one place and everything breaks loose. From that point, Savra’s plan to take over her guild and resurrect the guildmaster Svogthir, a necromancer, begins and the five characters are thrown into a war that only ends when a titan crumbles, an angel fights, a guild is nearly destroyed, and Kos makes the greatest arrest in 10,000 years.
Thanks to policing from the Boros Legion, a guild run by angels from above, the upper tiers of the city have been peaceful for much of the time, but the underworld is dark and desolate, devoid of sun. That’s where the Devkarins, members of the Golgari guild, come in: dark elves that run the darker parts of Ravnica with necromancy and pure hunting skill. Jarad is one such Devkarin. However, they stay close to old Ravnica’s underworld, leaving the roads free, and so the Selesnya Conclave use Ledev, a group of paramilitary soldiers that protect the rights of free passage on the road. Within these elite Ledev is Fonn, eager to guard her friend, a priest, into Ravnica for his part in the Decimillenial celebrations. However, they meet with some heartache as an explosion tears through the city and kills the priest, flinging Fonn into Jarad’s arms and causing far too much trouble for Kos to handle.
With a partner dead and a contract he never signed keeping the ghost bound to his presence, Kos embarks on the investigation that takes him under Ravnica, through the skies and into the streets plunged deep with innocent blood. Unfortunately for him, that means crossing the doorsteps of some of the most powerful guilds of the plane. But only the corrupt ones and only the ones whose intentions do not honor the guildpact. Armed with his pendrek and his angel friend, he sets out to discover that the conspiracies of the present are invariably tied directly to the past; his past and Ravnica’s past.
With their new friend Teysa Karlov, baroness of the frontier zone named Utvara, Agrus Kos and his business partner Pivlic begin to unravel an Izzet secret that delves deeper than many of them wanted to ever go, all the while searching for the missing messenger of the Zomaj Hauc, Izzet Guild upper manager and lead engineer of the Cauldron, a powerplant supplying energy to all of the Utvara region.
Crix the goblin finds herself in the hands of the indigenous peoples of Utvara while Baroness Teysa and her minions attempt to gain control of the region that has now become hers to own. But Crix finds that the plains around Utvara are mysterious, full of bizarre creatures that trace back to the ancient days of Ravnica, as well as a race of people who wear fungus on their backs to protect themselves from a spore that got thrown up into the air after the Izzet Guild attempted to “reclaim” the Utvaran region for the previous owner, Teysa’s uncle and prodigal father. But as Crix stays out in the spores, strange occurrences with the natives lead her to believe that something against the natural order is occurring, and that the answer can only be found within her master, Zomaj Hauc himself.
Crix manages to manipulate the natives into helping her get to the cauldron, partially to deliver the message she had been sent to deliver and partially to get to the bottom of this deadly mystery. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the courier, Agrus Kos and Pivlic have also become aware of the strange behaviors of the natives and begin an expedition to rescue the intrepid Izzet. However, as they work forward toward their goal, both the human and the imp find that it is not as easy of a task as it originally appeared, especially not when the Nephilim, those ancient creatures Crix encounters, become more rampant in this area of the frontier. Since Kidnapping is a crime, Kos is propelled forward, but unfortunately for him, his path leads straight to the gates of the Cauldron, on the eve of yet another attempt at ruining Ravnica where he is ultimately slain.
Back in Utvara, things seem to be simple and reclaiming the once lost territory is becoming a task that Teysa Karlov has turned into a lucrative business venture. But as business is getting better, Teysa begins to discover a mystery and a magic that has been plaguing her for most of her life. And the lies and deceptions strike directly into the heart of the woman who is beginning to get too old be able to deal with it. Be that as it may, the Guildmaster, the first Baroness of the Orzhov guild, meets her enemies face to face and proves that royal blood does make a difference.
Meanwhile, the streets of Ravnica run red with blood. Guild fights guild and horrifying monsters ravage the city, destroying all who stand in their way. The Guildpact is torn by dissension. And the guildmasters are under attack. But as Ravnica crumbles, a method emerges from the madness, and it becomes clear that the city's chaos was calculated. Lucky for Ravnica, on a world where ghosts linger, being dead isn’t half the excuse Kos would like it to be.