With the Shadows gallivanting around town, Gwendolyn Green takes a long bath, reflects on yesterday’s action and gets a call from Councillor Edward Hampton, a recent client, asking her to meet him near City Hall. Hampton’s glad that Gwen rescued his children when they were recently kidnapped, but wants Gwen to tell him the whole story – which she won’t do, because she doesn’t want to explain that his children were taken by Blighted Ones working for the Butcher Bishop and by the way magic is real, etc. Hampton tells her that other children have been vanishing recently; he suspects cult involvement, and has discovered that Rosicrucian agents may be infiltrating City Hall.
In the Library of Lost Dreams, Ned explains to Thomas, Charlotte and Arthur that a friend of his has been cursed, and that he’s trying to find a way to break the spell. He was approached by Coleridge, an occult book dealer and business rival of the Shadows, who promised to lift the curse if Ned would dig through Lagrange Library and bring him the Book of Dead Names. With the Wild Hunt prowling outside, Spindrift helps Charlotte locate a dream-tome with information on the Book; she and Ned go looking for it while Thomas looks for a way out and Arthur ponders the value of magical books.
Gwen’s attempt to discover clues online proves fruitless, so she plays to her strengths – she goes to the 8-Ball Haemorrhage, a dive bar in Chinatown, to beat information out of people. She finds Donovan, an ex-cop who hates her guts, and convinces him to spill what he knows. It’s not much – half a dozen children taken from their homes at night, with no obvious link between them all except that their beds, sheets and mattresses were torn to shreds. The police think it’s kidnapped, not murder, but they don’t know where to go next. Gwen’s heard enough and goes to leave – only to be intercepted at the door by Eamon Burnbridge and his bespoke-suited thugs.
Motivated by thrice-promised rewards from Thomas, Spindrift buys the Shadows some time by arguing with Herne, leader of the Wild Hunt. Ned and Charlotte discover that the Book of Dead Names has sinister qualities; writing someone’s name in it may doom them to death and rebirth as a ghost, and it may also bind those ghosts to it. Charlotte goes deeper into the Library, searching for more information, but she attracts the attention of dream-ghosts, who pursue her through the maze of bookshelves as the Wild Hunt enter the Library! Scattered around the fey library, the Shadows and Ned manage to come together as Thomas pulls open a portal back to New Jerusalem; they escape, but Herne will not let Thomas go so easily, or give up the fate magic bound up in the Book.
Burnbridge admits to respecting Gwen, and he’s grateful that she defended his men from the demon Annuberg last night, but his Rosicrucian masters want the Mitre back. When she explains that they’ve returned it to the Butcher Bishop, he gets pissed; he tells her it’s time to eliminate the bothersome Shadows once and for all, and she can either cooperate or go down with them. Before he can follow through with his threat, Gwen flips the table and attacks the thugs, taking one out and breaking Burnbridge’s hand before jumping out the window and getting to her Vespa.
The Shadows return to the mortal world in the parking lot of Hong’s 24-hour Noodle Bar, just as Gwen races by on her scooter, pursued by two gunmen! A fight breaks out, and while they manage to overpower the thugs, Gwen is shot in the process. They get away before the police arrive, retreating back to their antiques shop. Charlotte treats Gwen’s wounds with witchcraft and Ned shows them a photo of his friend’s cursed injuries – which now bear the mark of the Priestess of Spiders, a powerful chimera that they have dealt with before.
And unseen, a ghostly wisp flits overhead, its senses fixated on Charlotte…