Souls of varied temperament, derivation and presumed transgression are interred in the infamous Scarwater Gaol of Akrea, which broods on a rocky crag in the middle of a waterfall, the perilous rapids themselves a surer confinement than the walls. Four are drawn together, seeking to resist the maniacal High Bailiff of the prison, their complementary abilities giving them strength as a group that no one of them could summon alone. Narrowly avoiding entanglement with a dangerous underworld figure operating in secret from the bowels of the Gaol, the group instigates a mass prison break by saving a war hero from execution. They find their way to freedom, and leave the ruined Gaol ablaze behind them.
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