Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022

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


“I hate writing letters,” she said, forcing herself to sound light. She saw Lalita’s face soften back into a smile as some of the tension left it, and was glad she had done so. “But for you, I’ll try.”

“I feel very special.”

“As you should,” Mehr said. “You dreadful abandoner. You know my stances will only grow worse without you, don’t you?”

“I dread to think,” Lalita said with a sigh. She gave Mehr a thoughtful look and said, “You will practice without me, won’t you?”

“Of course.” Mehr hesitated. “Lalita, do you …?”

“Yes?” she prompted.

“I thought your message was about something else entirely.” Mehr shook her head. “It doesn’t matter.”

“Tell me,” said Lalita. “Has something happened? Your stepmother?”

“Last night there was a daiva in my sister’s room.”

Lalita’s gaze sharpened. She leaned forward.

“Was it strong? An ancient?”

“It was nothing but a bird-spirit. But I believe it was a herald, Lalita. I think a storm is coming.”

Lalita looked out through the lattice wall, considering.

“The last time I walked the edge of the desert, the daiva did seem restless,” she said finally. “For a benign spirit to move so far among mortals … yes, my dear. I think you may be right.” Her forehead creased into a frown. “I can’t quite believe I missed the signs. I’ve misplaced my head.” She looked at Mehr. “You’ve taken the proper precautions?”

Mehr nodded. There was no chance of a daiva coming into Mehr’s chambers. Mehr had bled on the doors and windows often enough, after all, every turn of the moon since her tenth year, just as she’d been taught.

“And your sister?”

“Her window was freshly blooded. I used my dagger.”

“Then there’s nothing to fear, and everything to look forward to.” Lalita set down her drink. There was a faraway look in her eyes. “How old were you during the last storm?”

“Young,” said Mehr. “I can’t remember.”

“It’s been an age since I last saw a storm,” Lalita said, a wistful edge to her voice. “When I was a child I loved them. My clan would spend days preparing the Rite of Dreaming. And when the dreamfire fell—ah, Mehr, it was a beautiful thing. You can’t imagine it.” A sigh. “But of course storms were more frequent where I was raised. There’s just no soul in Jah Irinah.”

Storms of dreamfire only occurred within the confines of Irinah’s holy desert. But Irinah was vast, and Lalita had grown up deep in the heart of the desert, where storms fell frequently. Jah Irinah, built as it was on the outer edge of the blessed sand, was rarely graced with storms. Nonetheless, it was a common belief among the Irin that the presence of the Ambhan Empire in the city—in its buildings, its fountains, its culture, and its people—kept the storms at bay. Dreamfire, they would whisper, belonged to Irinah and Irinah’s people. It wouldn’t deign to fall before foreign eyes.

Mehr understood that belief. Built in the early years of the Empire, when the first Emperor ordered a loyal Governor to the conquered country to rule in his stead, Jah Irinah was and always would be a purely Ambhan city. The Empire was visible in every swooping arch, every mosaic-patterned wall, and every human-made fountain pumped with precious, wasted water. The city was built on Irinah’s back, but there was certainly none of the country’s harsh beauty in its bones.

Lalita was still lost in old memories, her face soft with sadness. “The Rite of Dreaming usually needs more dancers, but we’ll manage.” She looked at Mehr. “We’ll greet the storm together.”

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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Nur Jahan: Mughal Empress

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    Bewilderment
    by Richard Powers
    In 2019, Richard Powers won the Pulitzer Prize for The Overstory, a sprawling novel whose characters...
  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Our Missing Hearts
    by Celeste Ng

    From the author of Little Fires Everywhere, a new novel about a mother’s unbreakable love in a world consumed by fear.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Ways We Hide
by Kristina McMorris
From the bestselling author of Sold On A Monday, a sweeping tale of an illusionist recruited by British intelligence in World War II.
Who Said...

Not doing more than the average is what keeps the average down.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

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.