cover image Desert Rising

Desert Rising

Kelley Grant. Harper Voyager Impulse, $2.99 e-book (326p) ISBN 978-0-06-238251-1

Squabbling deities and cultural clashes form the heart of this entertaining and original debut secondary-world fantasy, the first in a promising new series. Sulis, born into a powerful desert clan of textile merchants, is determined to follow in her murdered mother’s footsteps and join the Temple, dedicating her life to the One. Drawn by a genuine calling, Sulis becomes a pledge at the great Temple in Illian, the crossroads city where desert nomads trade with less footloose northerners. The Temple suffers from its own twisted internal politics, and it exerts considerable control over trade in a caste-based society where undesirables are “Forsaken” and treated as chattel. As religious factions jockey for power, Sulis’s self-confidence and determination, and her willingness to ask uncomfortable questions, make her a leader of her fellow pledges and a dangerous threat to the established powers. Grant draws readers into her unusual setting with lively, well-rounded characters and a satisfyingly twisty plot. Thoughtful worldbuilding adds color and believability. Readers searching for a strong female protagonist and dangerous intrigue in a refreshing fantasy world will enjoy this impressive series opener. (Apr.)