cover image Mahimata


Rati Mehrotra. Harper Voyager, $16.99 trade paper (480p) ISBN 978-0-06-256455-9

Both making love and making war bring problems in Mehrotra’s emotional roller coaster of a sequel to 2018’s science fantasy Markswoman. Eight hundred and fifty years after a Great War in an altered Asia, peace is maintained by religious orders of women armed with psychic daggers. Threatening them is the renegade Kai Tau, who equips his loyalists with corrupted telepathic rifles (“kalashiks”). Kyra Veer, only survivor of a Tau massacre and now head of the Order of Kali, builds an unorthodox alliance with the wild wyr-wolves as well as with the solely male Order—and especially its charming weapons trainer, Rustan. Still guilt-stricken from taking an innocent life, Rustan heads out on pilgrimage to a legendary monastery, where monks guard the secrets of the aliens who brought mind-reading metal and teleportation hubs to Asiana. Together and apart, Kyra and Rustan unite the quarreling powers of their world to stop Kai Tau. Mehrotra spends some time developing the setting, but her focus is on the romantic issues of her two fate-driven protagonists. Readers who enjoyed the first Asiana volume will be rewarded by this amorous wallow amid the battles and mountain treks. Agent: Mary C. Moore, Kimberley Cameron & Assoc. (Mar.)