MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Excerpt from Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Empire of Sand

The Books of Ambha

by Tasha Suri

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri X
Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2018, 496 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2018, 496 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


The dance was ancient, and its age comforted her. Amrithi had greeted the dawn just like this for generations. There was an endless, unbroken history of men and women who had moved exactly as Mehr was moving now: arms upraised, then lowered, fingers interlocked, then spread in a constant rhythm that matched the rising beat of her heart. Mehr was merely a link in the chain. She didn’t have to think. She was elemental.

From dawn she moved to day, and from day to dusk. There was a whole cycle of rites simply for the passing of the hours. Mehr knew them all. Lost in her body, she didn’t even notice when Lalita finally entered, even though a maid had surely arrived to announce her. She only realized Lalita was there when she heard a voice humming with the rhythm of her steps, fingers tapping along with the smack of her feet against the floor. Mehr stopped immediately, falling into the finishing stance.

“Welcome back,” Lalita said wryly. Her Chand guard Usha, standing in the doorway, gave a shy wave. “Are you wholly with us now?”

Mehr’s legs were cramping. She must have been dancing for hours. It wouldn’t have been the first time she’d lost herself in the rites. She stretched out the soreness in her muscles, her breath still a shade too fast. “Were you waiting long?”

“Oh no, not long,” Lalita said. “One of your maids offered me refreshments. Such a pleasant girl.” She raised a small glass of fruit nectar to illustrate. “Will you join me in a drink?”

Mehr joined her on the floor cushions, crossing her aching legs before they could resist her will.

It was hard not to look at Lalita without being reflexively astounded by her beauty. Although she was a woman old enough to be Mehr’s mother, she wore her age the way she wore her loveliness: proudly, like armor. She’d once been a courtesan in Jah Ambha, the Emperor’s city. Usha had told Mehr in awed, hushed tones that Lalita had danced once for the Emperor himself. But now she lived a quiet life in Jah Irinah, near the desert of her ancestors, holding small salons and entertaining only the most select of guests.

Lalita passed her a drink. Her mouth curved into a smile. Her hair was loose around her shoulders in glossy curls; her lips were painted red. But her eyes were tired, and she couldn’t quite hide the tremor in her fingers as she handed over the glass.

“Are you well?” Mehr asked cautiously.

Lalita dismissed the question with a wave of her hand. “You need to practice matching your sigils with your stances,” she said. “Your timing is imperfect.”

“Blame my teacher.”

“Very funny,” Lalita said dryly. “I am well, dear one. But I have unfortunate news.”

“Tell me,” Mehr prompted.

Lalita’s gaze flickered over to the doorway, where Usha stood. They shared a glance. Then she returned her gaze to Mehr, her face now grave.

“I have to leave Jah Irinah. I may not be able to return for a long time, Mehr.”

“Ah,” Mehr said. She swallowed around the lump in her throat. “I see.”

“I am sorry for it,” Lalita said softly. “But I have drawn some unwanted attention. One of the perils of my work, dear one. But I will write to you, and you must write back, you understand?”

As a courtesan, Lalita faced many risks. Mehr understood that well enough.

But Lalita was not simply a courtesan. She was also an Amrithi woman hiding in plain sight under a Chand name and a Chand identity. And that, more than her profession, placed her at risk of terrible danger. It was Lalita who had carefully, gently explained to Mehr the dangers their shared heritage posed.

Mehr looked at Lalita’s hands, which were still trembling faintly. Lalita’s calm, she realized, was as fragile and brittle as fine glass. It was not Mehr’s place to shatter it. Instead, she swallowed her questions away, and simply nodded.

Excerpted from Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri. Copyright © 2018 by Tasha Suri. Excerpted by permission of Orbit. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Nur Jahan: Mughal Empress

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Good Neighborhood
    A Good Neighborhood
    by Therese Anne Fowler
    After fictionalized biographies of Zelda Fitzgerald (Z, 2013) and Alva Vanderbilt (A Well-Behaved ...
  • Book Jacket: Little Gods
    Little Gods
    by Meng Jin
    Little Gods, Meng Jin's intricate, emotionally intelligent debut, opens with a scene in which ...
  • Book Jacket: The Truants
    The Truants
    by Kate Weinberg
    The Truants opens with Jess Walker, a first-year university student in Norfolk, England, ...
  • Book Jacket: The End of the Ocean
    The End of the Ocean
    by Maja Lunde
    In The History of Bees, her debut novel for adults, internationally bestselling Norwegian writer ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    American Dirt
    by Jeanine Cummins

    A new American classic, and the first book to ever score a perfect 5-stars in BookBrowse's early reader program!
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Father of Lions
    by Louise Callaghan

    A true-to-life narrative of one man's remarkable quest to save the Mosul Zoo.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Father of Lions
by Louise Callaghan

A true-to-life narrative of one man's remarkable quest to save the Mosul Zoo.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Lost Family

The Lost Family
by Libby Copeland

A deeply reported look at the rise of home genetic testing and the seismic shock it has had on individual lives.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A F I Need I A F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.