Trying to work things out with his dead and unfaithful wife, Shadow’s reunion is interrupted when he and Mr. Wednesday are kidnapped by the New Gods.
Jumping between the past and present, Laura’s life is explored, revealing how she met Shadow, how she died and how she came to be sitting on the edge of his motel-room bed.
Shadow questions the terms of his employment when Mr. Wednesday informs him of his plan to rob a bank (because, naturally, every army needs a source of funding). And just when Shadow thought his life couldn’t get any more complicated, he returns to his motel room to a surprising discovery.
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.
A war is brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of biblical and mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern worship of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. Shadow Moon, is an ex-con who finds himself traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a notorious conman on a cross-country mission for the old gods to gather those that remain in preparation to battle the new deities.