Lauria is a freeborn woman in a world of slavery and treachery, an alternate Greek empire strengthened by the magic of the djinni. Daughter of a harem girl, Lauria rose to become a favored aide to her mother's former master, military commander Kyros, and she gives him her absolute allegiance. She spies for him and excels at tracking and capturing runaways.
When word comes that the rebel Alashi tribe, made up of freeborns and runaway slaves, plans an attack, Lauria is chosen to infiltrate their ranks. To do so, she must pose as a slave in a wealthy household. But when her few days of slavery end in betrayal, Lauria finds herself questioning her beliefs and past actions. Accepted into the Alashi tribe, training as a warrior, she begins to see the corruption and cruelty at the foundations of her society and is faced with a brutal decision.
In this first book of a new trilogy rooted in ancient Greek culture, Kritzer paints a harsh picture of a civilization of masters and slaves, both magical and human, and the eternal quest for freedom. Lauria is a powerful figure at the center of a journey of self-discovery, moving from unquestioning loyalty to independent thinking. A must for alternate history and historical fantasy fans, this novel will leave readers anxious for the next installment of Lauria's adventures. (Jul., 384 pp., $6.99)
Jen Talley Exum