The sultan Bokhari Al-Bokhari of Bessa has 365 concubines — until a violent coup puts the city in the hands of the religious zealot Hakkim Mehdad. Hakkim has no use for the pleasures of the flesh: he condemns the women first to exile and then to death.
Cast into the desert, the concubines must rely on themselves and each other to escape from the new sultan’s fanatical pursuit. But their goals go beyond mere survival: with the aid of the champions who emerge from among them, they intend to topple the usurper and retake Bessa from the repressive power that now controls it.
The assassin, Zuleika, whose hands are weapons.
The seer, Rem, whose tears are ink.
The wise Gursoon, who was the dead sultan’s canniest advisor.
The camel-thief, Anwar Das, who offers his lying tongue to the concubines’ cause.
Together, they must forge the women of the harem into an army, a seraglio of steel, and use it to conquer a city. But even if they succeed, their troubles will just be beginning — because their most dangerous enemy is within their own number...
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Louise Carey is a fantasy and science-fiction author. She has co-written two novels for Gollancz, The City of Silk and Steel and The House of War and Witness, as well as a graphic novel, Confessions of a Blabbermouth, for DC Comics. She co-runs the Dungeons & Dragons blog Tabletop Tales. Louise lives in Welwyn Garden City with her partner. When she's not writing, she can usually be found playing board games, reading horror, or DMing for a group of rowdy but well-intentioned adventurers.