Thraxas ekes out a living as a private investigator. He lives in the poor part of town, with a barbarian for a landlord, and a female ex-gladiator to help him when the fighting gets rough. Thraxas might be too jaded to feel any desire for the beautiful Makri, with her Elvish and Orcish blood, but he appreciates her lethal combat skills. Thraxas once learned a little magic, but he's a hopeless sorcerer. On the other hand, he's brave, loyal to his clients, and he's a legend at the dining table. Thraxas can out-eat and out-drink anyone. When his investigations involve hostile sorcerers, sword-wielding thugs and murderous assassins, Thraxas knows the value of flagon of ale and a good bowl of stew. This novel won the World Fantasy Award in 2000.