"Stunning and enthralling.... Empire of Sand is a gripping tale of survival I'll be recommending for a long time!" - S. A. Chakraborty, author of The City of Brass
"A darkly intricate, devastating, and utterly original story about the ways we are bound by those we love." - R. F. Kuang, author of The Poppy War
A nobleman's daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods. Empire of Sand is Tasha Suri's captivating, Mughal India-inspired debut fantasy.
The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.
When Mehr's power comes to the attention of the Emperor's most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.
Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance...
Empire of Sand is a lush, dazzling fantasy novel perfect for readers of City of Brass and The Wrath & the Dawn.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Despite its young, orphaned heroine—who has magic in her blood—Empire of Sand is no Harry Potter novel. Set during India’s 16th-century Mughal Empire—the period when Genghis Khan’s descendants conquered the country—this densely detailed epic fantasy threads gods and spells into a rich historical fabric. Drenched in romance and adventure, Tasha Suri’s debut wowed us with its lyrical descriptions of an outcast culture of magic-makers—and with touching moments of closeness among female friends living in the shadow of an empire at war.
Dark secrets lurk at an empire's heart in this complex, affecting epic fantasy from debut author Suri. In a land inspired by Mughal India, Mehr is a young noblewoman of ambiguous status: her father is a governor from a powerful Ambhan family, the most privileged group in the Ambhan Empire, but Mehr is an illegitimate child, and her exiled mother is one of the outcast Amrithi. Her mother's people claim descent from the daiva, strange, djinnlike creatures that roam the desert, gathering around magical storms said to be the sleeping gods' dreams. Mehr's latent magical abilities draw the attention of the empire's spiritual leader and his mystical coven, including a young Amrithi man named Amun who possesses similar abilities. Alongside the fantasy setting's courtly intrigue and magic, Suri explores deeper questions of power, love, and the human cost of prosperity and order. That cost falls heavily on the subjugated Amrithi, who are "the kindling wood that the fire of the Empire's strength"; on women, whose complex relationships with one another are brilliantly portrayed; and on the young people unwillingly caught up in the Ambhan arranged marriage system. Intricate worldbuilding, heartrending emotional stakes, and Suri's well-wrought prose ("Dreamfire bled across the sky, swift as spilled ink on paper, its jewelled edges tinged with darkness") make this a worthy addition to any epic fantasy fan's bookshelf.