From the rear cover:
While sojourning in a nameless village on the Parched Coast you must have been slipped sleeping powders. You awoke on board an oared galley in chains, and forced to row. Your mind numb and unable to recall much, you rowed for what seemed like days. Talk among the other slaves was that the ship was bound for Plague Island. Your cruel captors, when not whipping you and your oar mates told you how wealthy you would make them once they sold you, and of how well you would die in the arena at the Jade Palace.
Through a haze of drugs and pain, you were able to recall bits of legend of such a place. On the coast and in distant lands, the island is spoken of in hushed tones in the back rooms of bars, in thieves' and wizards' guilds and among restless and bloodthirsty delvers and adventurers. It is said that a group of very wealthy and powerful people use the island as a sort of playground, where gladiatorial combats are held, where powerful mages meet to trade dark secrets, and where the hunting of human prey is carried out in the jungle.