Sable Keech is a walking dead man. Was he resurrected because he was infected by the Spatterjay virus, or it took place late in a tank of seawater? Taylor Bloc wants to know the truth. He also wants more -- adulation, power, control -- and will go to any lengths to achieve them. An ancient hive mind has sent an agent to this uncertain world. Does it merely want to obtain the poison 'sprine' that is crucial to immortality? Erlin, still faced with the ennui of immortality, is interrupted by an angry whelkus titanicus, and begins a strange journey. Deep in the ocean the Spatterjay virus has wrought a terrible change that will affect them all. Something long-dormant is breaking free. And Sniper, its Warden, finally receives his new drone shell. It's better than his old one: powerful engines, more lethal weapons, thicker armour. He's going to need them.