cover image Realm of Ash

Realm of Ash

Tasha Suri. Orbit, $16.99 trade paper (480p) ISBN 978-0-316-44975-5

Suri’s sumptuous second fantasy in the Books of Ambha series (after Realm of Sand) returns to the Mughal, India–inspired Ambhan Empire. Arwa, a widowed noblewoman, does all she can to hide the fact that she is descended from an Amrithi barbarian mother and has feared but powerful Amrithi blood in her veins. The sole survivor of a massacre, Arwa retreats to a hermitage to grieve. But when she discovers that her blood may be the key to saving the crumbling Ambhan Empire from a curse, Arwa agrees to travel to the Imperial palace. There, she must navigate politics, the intricacies of courtly manners, and the whims of the emperor’s family. With help from the emperor’s illegitimate son, Zahir, Arwa peels back the layers of her mother’s culture and learns more about the forbidden magic of her blood. Meandering passages exploring Arwa’s mental state occasionally go on too long, pulling the reader out of the rich, sensuous culture of Ambha. Suri’s exquisitely detailed world and complex plotting make up for any shortcomings. Agent: Laura Crockett, Triada US Literary (Nov.)