Tens of thousands of years of ice is melting, and the land of Assail, long a byword for menace and inaccessibility, is at last yielding its secrets. Tales of gold discovered in the region's north circulate in every waterfront dive and sailor's tavern and now countless adventurers and fortune-seekers have set sail in search of riches. All they have to guide them are legends and garbled tales of the dangers that lie in wait-hostile coasts, fields of ice, impassable barriers, and terrifying creatures. But all accounts concur that the people of the north meet all trespassers with the sword.
Into this turmoil ventures the mercenary company, the Crimson Guard. Not drawn by contract, but by the promise of answers: answers to mysteries that Shimmer, second in command, wonders should even be sought. Arriving also, part of an uneasy alliance of Malazan fortune-hunters and Letherii soldiery, comes the bard Fisher kel Tath. And with him is a Tiste Andii who was found washed ashore and who cannot remember his past life, yet who commands far more power than he really should.
Also venturing north is said to be a mighty champion, a man who once fought for the Malazans, the bearer of a sword that slays gods: Whiteblade. Casting light on mysteries spanning the Malazan empire, and offering a glimpse of the storied and epic history that shaped it, Assail is the final chapter in the epic story of the Empire of Malaz.