Cornelius has triumphed in his first battle and climbed to the rank of Peasant, leaving behind the menial labor and brutality endured by the countless serfs slaving away for the comfort and glory of their Duke. Yet Cornelius soon finds the fierce joy of his victory crushed beneath the weight of new cruelty and suffering, almost as if there were unknown high-ranking Climbers determined to make his life miserable. And perhaps he's right... Meanwhile, as the powerful angel listens to Earl Cornelius describe his brutal early life in Manningham-a story she hopes will communicate the loveless nature of Hell to a young man in her care-she begins to have doubts when she learns of the heroic side of the savage Cornelius. Something is wrong; there are no heroes in Hell!