West of Theft, on a vast stretch of ocean known as the Wastes, the free-ship Suncurl pilots its way along the Lees of Laughter's end, away from the city of Lamentable Moll. Aboard the ship, three passengers have become the subject of the crew's gossip: the luckless manservant Emancipor Reese, and his masters, the homicidal necromancers known as Bauchelain and Korbal Broach. But a bizarre force pursues them along the cursed sea-lane known as Laughter's End, even as an arcane thing awakens aboard the Suncurl. What secrets do the captain and her First Mate conceal from the rest of the crew? What lurks in the darkness of the ship's hold? And what of the eunuch's strange behavior... or his frightening offspring?