The fate of an empire rests in the hands of a young woman with magical blood and nothing left to lose, and an outcast prince determined to save his family at any cost, in this "dark, melodious, and memorable" new fantasy (Library Journal, starred review) from the author of Empire of Sand.
The Ambhan Empire is crumbling. A terrible war of succession hovers on the horizon. The only hope for peace lies in the mysterious realm of ash, where mortals can find what they seek in the echoes of their ancestors' dreams. But to walk there requires a steep price.
Arwa is determined to make the journey. Widowed by a brutal massacre, she's pledged service to the royal family and will see that pledge through to the end. She never expected to be joined by Zahir, the disgraced, illegitimate prince who has turned to forbidden magic in a desperate bid to save those he loves.
Together, they'll walk the bloody path of their shared past. And it will call into question everything they've ever believed...including whether the Empire is worth saving at all.
"Those with a penchant for lyrical prose, intricate world building, beautifully imagined characters, [and] compelling immersive folklore...need look no further." -- Booklist (starred review)
The Books of AmbhaEmpire of SandRealm of Ash
Suri's sumptuous second fantasy in the Books of Ambha series (after Realm of Sand) returns to the Mughal, India inspired Ambhan Empire. Arwa, a widowed noblewoman, does all she can to hide the fact that she is descended from an Amrithi barbarian mother and has feared but powerful Amrithi blood in her veins. The sole survivor of a massacre, Arwa retreats to a hermitage to grieve. But when she discovers that her blood may be the key to saving the crumbling Ambhan Empire from a curse, Arwa agrees to travel to the Imperial palace. There, she must navigate politics, the intricacies of courtly manners, and the whims of the emperor's family. With help from the emperor's illegitimate son, Zahir, Arwa peels back the layers of her mother's culture and learns more about the forbidden magic of her blood. Meandering passages exploring Arwa's mental state occasionally go on too long, pulling the reader out of the rich, sensuous culture of Ambha. Suri's exquisitely detailed world and complex plotting make up for any shortcomings.