An ancient evil threatens both the Old Kingdom and Ancelstierre alike. Deep under the earth, the silver hemispheres that contain the essence of Orannis, the ninth free magic creature that resisted being bound into the Charter, stirs, its terrible power wakes, and its time of re-emergence seems close at hand as Hedge, its necromancer servant, raises wave after wave of Dead to aid in the return of the Destroyer.
The battle against Orannis falls to Lirael who, newly awakened to her powers as the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, holds the fate of the world in her hands. Along with the unknowable Disreputable Dog, Lirael's journey will take her to the very limit of Death, the Ninth Gate, where she will peer into the void of time in order to find out how to defeat Orannis. But will she be willing to make the final sacrifice?