Tommen Forbes is basically your average sixteen year old: hates school, likes girls, desperate to get his license so he doesn't have to be stuck at home. Oh, and he's really a hundred and sixty years old with the ability to bend Time, to make it go faster or slower at will.
His dad, Homicide Detective Walter Forbes, also has this ability. They are called Timekeepers. They answer to the Hands of Time and are charged with protecting Time itself from criminal Runners.
When women start turning up dead, all evidence points to Runner involvement. As Walter digs deeper, he discovers that their killer is no ordinary runner; he's a notorious hired hitman with a sickening lust for death. Worse, his Time abilities far supersede anything Walter or Tommen are capable of.
When the killer turns his sights on the father and son, it becomes a race against time to bring this menace to heel.
Walter Forbes is dying. He took three bullets to save his son, but the poison remains, wreaking havoc on his body while he lies in a coma. Earth-side doctors are helpless, Time-side tricks are useless, and Tommen is repeatedly told to make his peace now.
But Tommen is unwilling to give up without a fight, and he is prepared to go to any lengths to find a cure, even if that means risking slavery to the Borelians and causing a civil war within the Time industry.
As he treads dangerous waters, a message arrives: there is a cure for Walter's ailment, but the journey is perilous, easily a one-way street if he missteps in any way. Even if he does survive long enough to get the cure back to his dad, he risks losing his Apprenticeship, or worse, charges of treason, the punishment for which is having his clock broken, a fate worse than death.
Meanwhile, political gears are grinding as the elections heat up, and at least one person has his eyes on a much bigger prize than just the Zero Hour.
Civil war looms in the Wheel, hanging over the heads of the voters as everyone wonders whether the Time industry is heading toward another Dispersal. With rumors of a False Zero Hour taking center stage ahead of Voting Day, everyone is on high alert.
Few understand this better than Tommen as he prepares to go before the Hands for his Apprentice review, knowing that Rifun may be all that stands between him and the vengeful Grandfathers.
Even Walter is under heavy scrutiny from all sides as both Time-side and Earth-side justice try to prove some sort of collaboration. As he struggles to recover from the Borelian poison, threats are made, and a very personal Voting Day hit list promises to make the elections a very bloody affair. Walter knows he will need his wits about him to survive and fend off further attacks, but not all assaults are external, and past demons come roaring back to life.
Everyone is a target and no one is safe as Rifun and Cassius prepare to make their move in what could be the most brilliant and yet deadliest political heist in living memory for the Time industry.
The Time industry has fallen, the Hands of Time have been overthrown, Walter and Micaiah have been captured, and Rifun and Cassius rule.
Dark times have come to the universe and a shadow of fear and uncertainty blankets the survivors, Tommen and Micah included. They knows it's only a matter of time before Rifun and Cassius begin to mop up, and they're prime targets, especially when the hounds of war are sent out to track down those who escaped the coup.
With the chain of command decimated and more questions than answers, the survivors can only rely on themselves and each other, and not always reliably. Their only hope to take back the Wheel of Time may come from an unlikely band of mystics, enemies of both Time and the Cult, but wielding unbelievable power, not only in Time, but Matter and Energy as well.
It's a game of blind man's bluff as the survivors work to become the victors, as long as they don't kill each other first.
Thanks to the efforts of Micaiah and his band of misfits, Cassius and the Bat are dead, the Time industry has been saved, and the Hands are back in power. But not everyone is grateful for the rescue, instead blaming the Akarin for causing the problem in the first place, and some would rather that the Akarin disappeared and stayed disappeared...by any means necessary.
Meanwhile, Tommen decides to head off to summer camp. He thinks it will be a good opportunity to get away from his dad and all the craziness going on, though he quickly discovers that independence isn't all it's cracked up to be. If his camp counselor isn't bad enough—a gruff retired Marine who probably shouldn't be anywhere near children—then he only has to consider that Rifun is still out there somewhere, watching him. Suddenly, being isolated from everyone who can help him doesn't sound like such a good idea.
When Rifun does show up, it's with a message and a warning that will challenge everything Tommen thought he knew about the Akari, the Akarin, the Cult, even the entire universe.
The camp is destroyed, thousands of acres burned to the ground, and all but one person is accounted for.
When Tommen wakes up in a forest of ash, he makes a startling discovery—well, more startling than being cold, along, injured, infected, and concussed. He's invisible and incorporeal. Somehow, in the chaos of the fire, he was thrown into the Land In Between, from which no one has ever returned. Worse, Time does not work in the Land In Between, meaning he is also powerless to heal himself or escape.
With no way to communicate with the corporeal world, Tommen must find an exit from within the dimension. But there is more to this fabled hell than meets the eye, and time travel is only the beginning. When he meets the self-proclaimed mistress and curator of the Land In Between, she agrees to teach him the way to escape, but only if he agrees to take her with him.
Time is short as Tommen's infections worsen, and his dad is not the only one waiting for him on the other side.
Because things just couldn't get any worse.
Micaiah is dead. No tricks. No schemes. He's gone. And with him goes any hope of defeating the Cult as the Akarin spiral out of control.
Rifun isn't about to waste this opportunity, and he readily assumes the role of mentor for Tommen's Akari training, taking him into the heart of Cult operations and inducting him into the army.
But even that pales in comparison to the war being waged on Earth, a war that is no longer a secret. The Borelians have established themselves as a terrorist group, killing and kidnapping humans right and left, leaving the Time Agents scrambling to stop them. Defense is negligible, offense is laughable, and any progress they do make may not come in time to save them.
The boiling point is past, and things are about to explode.
Apparently, things could get worse, though Tommen is tired of the universe rising to the challenge.
Any hope he might have had that the Akarin could somehow vanquish Rifun died with their defeat, even as the man himself lived, nearly a god to his army as he appears to shrug off what should have been a fatal injury.
In the aftermath of the fortress battle, Tommen is sent on a new mission, to find Richard's third journal, thus completing the Order's collection of holy texts. What sounds like a simple task quickly turns into a much larger mystery as he bounces from planet to planet, speaking to royalty and space pirates and diving into ancient treasure vaults, all the while certain that something just isn't right.
But there is another force at work in all of this, and it will take Tommen to where the dimensions fracture and are woven together. And that's only the gateway into Hell.