A prisoner in the forbidden harem of the great Stone Palace of Percheron, Ana inflames the desires of every man who sees her, even as she fears for her future. The city's beloved protector, Spur Lazar, offered up his life for her, accepting punishment intended for the bewitching odalisque. Now, without Lazar's guiding hand, Percheron has become a darker, more treacherous place.
Mistrusting the machinations of Herezah, his mother—who plots to destroy the odalisque Ana—the young Zar Boaz seeks counsel from the suddenly changed and dangerously secretive "Grand Vizier," counsel he desperately needs. War threatens from a distant realm; the cyclical battle of the gods intensifies; and the first of the Goddess's disciples is claimed by the demon Maliz. But all schemes must ultimately rise and fall on one unknown truth: Spur Lazar lives still, recovering in secret from the illness that has left him the gift of a curse.
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Fiona McIntosh was raised in the U.K. but left London to explore the world and found herself in Australia, where she fell in love with the country and one person in particular. She has since roamed the planet for her work in the travel industry but now writes full-time and continues to draw inspiration from her travels. McIntosh lives with her husband and teenage sons, splitting her time between city life in South Australia and the wilderness of Tasmania.From Publishers Weekly:
Though the world-building remains top-notch, this slow-moving second installment of McIntosh's epic fantasy (after Odalisque) appears mainly designed to set up more interesting action in later volumes. Ana, a virginal odalisque, is trapped in the idle harem of Boaz, the chaste, adolescent Zar of Percheron. Nearly every man who sees Ana desires and adores her, not only the Zar but also exiled warrior Lazar and the goddess-touched, shape-shifting dwarf, Pez. However, Herezah, the Zar's mother, sees Ana as a dangerous threat to her supremacy in the harem, and she concocts a plan with chief eunuch Salmeo to bring about Ana's humiliation and demise. A new setting eventually blows a fresh desert breeze through the stifling atmosphere, but the hundreds of pages spent building up to Ana's escape attempt, including a disturbing scene of sexual torture at Salmeo's hands, will have the reader sharing Ana's longing to be anywhere other than the Zar's palace. (Oct.)
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