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Synopsis

In a remote cave, an assassin who hasn't aged for three decades learns the Iyah of Calligar has been assassinated by Kennem rebels. The cause, he knows, is the Chant—the exiled god of sacrifice and broken dreams—and the Chant wants His most favored assassin to take up his knives yet again to slay those few mortals who stand in His way.

Shala has hidden from assassins all her life, living in secret among the cliffs of Kennem's border with Calligar. But news of the Iyah's murder changes everything. She is one of three surviving Swords—descendant of those who cast the Chant into exile generations ago—charged with protecting Calligar from the blood-hungry god's return despite her hatred of the murdered Iyah's warlord son.

Jaynes cut and honed his battle-skills on the Kennem border, ruthless in his determination to control the Kennem lands his father, the Iyah, had conquered. Though his father's murder requires he return home to see his sister ascend as Iyah, his greatest hunger is for vengeance. He will see the Kennem rebels scattered and slain despite Shala's warnings and demands.

But Jaynes doesn't know every battlefield death feeds and strengthens the Chant.

And Shala doesn't know the Chant's assassin is coming for her.

That assassin no longer remembers his own name, but he does know what the Chant has taught him: blood is sweet when the gods grant a taste of it, and fulfilling the Chant's demands will at last grant the freedom denied him for nearly thirty years.

From Sherwood Smith, author of the acclaimed INDA series:
"This novel straddles the boundary between epic fantasy and sword and sorcery. Told in a vivid, sometimes whisperingly passionate, sometimes coldly ironic omni voice, it has culture clash, irruption of the strange into a world full of bloody conflict, and interesting and complicated women as well as interesting and complicated men. It’s rare, after reading fantasy for more than fifty years, that I couldn't predict where a story is going, but this was one."

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