From the introduction:
In the last days of the Second Horde War the remnants of the Oera'dim Army of the March are in retreat. Defeated at the Battle of the Line by the Colonial Army, and forced to withdraw into the mountains bordering the northern edges of the Shan Valleys, the March is in disarray. At the army's head is the Jotun General Vallen'diil'Bruhaj, known to his warriors as the Great Hammer, a commander of considerable skill but an Oera'dim who now sees only destruction for his great Host. At his right shoulder lay the foothills of the Great Rift, at his back the encroaching Colonial Army, its mounted units already sweeping west and north to encircle him. If he is to fight he knows it will be the end of him and his army, but at least, he thinks, it will be an honourable demise. Choosing a long sloping hill as the ground upon which he will meet his enemy he makes his preparations.