Be sure you have the second book before you get to the end of the first or you will be left hanging. This book has a quite start with Thrasne a boatman aboard a barge. He trades from town to town and sees much of the odd ways of the people on shore. In a town they pass a woman commited suside by throwing herself in the river. A cardenal sin aginst the Awakeners. That night Thrasne pulls her up in his net ravaged with a thing that aflicts things in the water turning them to wood, they call it blight. Instead of letting her float away he keeps her and hides her in his cabin. After awhile Thrasne is sure that even frozen by blight that the woman actually moves and is trying to talk to him. Thus starts a very strange story.