On the eve of war, Mr. Wednesday attempts to recruit the Old God Ostara, but needs Mr. Nancy's help in making a good impression and winning her over.
Following her brief reunion with Shadow, Laura turns to an unlikely travel companion to find her way back to life; Mad Sweeney's long, winding, and often-tragic past is explored.
On the run after the New Gods' show of force, Shadow and Mr. Wednesday seek safe haven with one of Mr. Wednesday's oldest friends, Vulcan, God of the Fire and the Forge.
Shadow's emotional reunion with his dead and unfaithful wife is interrupted when he and Mr. Wednesday are kidnapped by the New Gods.
The story of Laura's life and death is explored, including her first encounter with Shadow and how exactly she came to be sitting on the edge of his motel room bed.
Shadow questions his decision to work for Mr. Wednesday after learning of his plan to rob a bank; Shadow makes a surprising discovery when he returns to his motel room.
Mr. Wednesday begins recruitment for the coming battle; Shadow Moon travels to Chicago with Mr. Wednesday and agrees to a high-stakes game of checkers with the old Slavic deity Czernobog.
Shadow Moon is released from prison early following the death of his wife; mysterious con artist Mr. Wednesday recruits Shadow to be his bodyguard.