In this brilliant and original epic fantasy of Machiavellian intrigue and unique magic, Daniel Abraham portrays fully realized women and complex, conflicted men in love, caught between the forces of money and power. The city-state of Saraykeht dominates the Summer Cities: commerce and trade fill the streets. Any desire, however exotic or base, can be satisfied in its soft quarter. The people live and work secure in the knowledge that their city is a bastion of progress in a harsh world. It would be a tragedy if it fell.... At the heart of the city's influence is the poet-sorcerer Heshai and the captive spirit Seedless which he controls. Heshai is at once the linchpin of and the most vulnerable point in Saraykeht's greatness. Far to the west, the armies of Galt have conquered many lands. To take Saraykeht, they must first destroy its prosperity. Marchat Wilsin, head of Galt's trading-house in the city, is planning a terrible crime against Heshai and Seedless. If he succeeds, Saraykeht will fall. Amat, House Wilsin's business manager, her apprentice Liat, and two young men from the farthest reaches of their society stand alone against the dire threat to the city. But in this city of power and intrigue, no one is without secrets. The price they must pay to save Saraykeht may be greater than they can afford....
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