"The Bloodprint is extraordinary. The book is wonderfully written; its poetic prose and mix of history, faith, and adventure reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic Odyssey...this time with a pair of women warriors at the helm.'' —S.A. Chakraborty, author of The City of Brass
The author of the acclaimed mystery The Unquiet Dead delivers her first fantasy novel—the opening installment in a thrilling quartet—a tale of religion, oppression, and political intrigue that radiates with heroism, wonder, and hope.
A dark power called the Talisman, born of ignorance and persecution, has risen in the land. Led by a man known only as the One-Eyed Preacher, it is a cruel and terrifying movement bent on world domination—a superstitious patriarchy that suppresses knowledge and subjugates women. And it is growing.
But there are those who fight the Talisman’s spread, including the Companions of Hira, a diverse group of influential women whose power derives from the Claim—the magic inherent in the words of a sacred scripture. Foremost among them is Arian and her fellow warrior, Sinnia, skilled fighters who are knowledgeable in the Claim. This daring pair have long stalked Talisman slave-chains, searching for clues and weapons to help them battle their enemy’s oppressive ways. Now they may have discovered a miraculous symbol of hope that can destroy the One-Eyed Preacher and his fervid followers: the Bloodprint, a dangerous text the Talisman has tried to erase from the world.
Finding the Bloodprint promises to be their most perilous undertaking yet, an arduous journey that will lead them deep into Talisman territory. Though they will be helped by allies—a loyal boy they freed from slavery and a man that used to be both Arian’s confidant and sword master—Arian and Sinnia know that this mission may well be their last.
Inspired by Middle Eastern history and legends, this ambitious but often muddled opening volume of the Khorasan Archives heroic fantasy series (a departure from Khan's debut, the mystery novel The Unquiet Dead) uneasily attempts to address several weighty issues, including religion, the rights of women, and the age-old conflict between heart's desires and duty's claims. Arian is First Oralist of the Companions of Hira. The companions preserve the sacred heritage of the Claim, scripture that encompasses both religion and magic. For 10 years Arian has rejected the love of handsome Daniyar, aka the Silver Mage, instead devoting herself to rescuing caravans of women from slave traders in a desert land overrun by the cruel Talisman, a male-dominated movement loosely patterned after today's repressive Taliban. During many adventures in pursuit of an artifact called the Bloodprint, Daniyar saves Arian and her apprentice, Sinnia, from horrifying tortures, and Arian comes to realize her quest is more personal than political. This colorful narrative is distractingly strewn with foggy capitalized concepts (eventually codified in an extensive glossary) and weighed down with religious excerpts from the Claim. It denounces harsh religion-based restrictions, deplores a growing disregard for the written word, and tangentially memorializes historical real-world massacres. A deep discussion of whether one sacred word can mean both "peace" and "submission" encapsulates the confusion of both Khan's heroine and her sympathetic, occasionally perplexed readers.