The Night of Endless Swords nearly saw the destruction of Sharakhai, and since then the Kings have come down hard on the rebelloious Moonless Host. Hundreds have been murdered or given to the Confessor King for questioning. Hundreds more have fled. Including Çeda, who has discovered that Onur, the King of Sloth, has returned to the desert to raise an army and challenge the remaining kings.
The Moonless Host - who have taken to calling themselves the Thirteen Tribe - will be trapped between Onur's growing influence and the considerable might of the kings who, with Sharakhai firmly back under their rule, are turning their attention to the desert once more.
Çeda knows that the asirim are the key. If she can lift their curse and free them from their bondage, then they can save Thirteenth Tribe from the the squabbling kings . . . and perhaps the kings themselves are no longer as unified as they once were. As they vie against each other for control of the city, could Çeda make an ally of one of them? And which one, when any of them could betray her as easily as they would their fellow kings.
Whatever the solution, the end is coming: as Çeda focuses on freeing the asirim and weaken the kings' hold on Sharakhai, the kings' forces, the scheming queen of Qaimir, Hamzakiir the ruthless blood mage, and the thirteenth tribe all prepare for a grand clash that may decide the fate of all who sail the desert.
This whirlwind third Song of Shattered Sands fantasy (after With Blood Upon the Sand) moves at a breathtaking pace through battles and schemes as edamihn Ahyanesh'ala and her allies seek to destroy the cruel kings of Sharakhai. The tale begins with eda in the desert, accompanied only by Kerim, an asir that she has freed from the kings' control. The asir are the souls of her lost tribe; they were enslaved and transformed centuries ago into monstrous servants and guardians of the kings, and eda is certain that freeing them all is the key to victory. She is quickly captured by Onur, the King of Spears, who is also in the desert, attempting to raise an army to strike against his fellow kings. Other kings plot among themselves, the remnants of the Moonless Host resistance attempt to regroup in the desert, and the queen of Qaimir seeks power for herself. Beaulieu's worldbuilding is impressive he fills his creation with detailed history, unique gods, terrifying creatures, and blood magic, nodding to the myths and history of the Middle East and northern Africa while developing extensive original elements. New readers shouldn't start here, but this is a powerful continuation of a great series.