A young girl, Marjan, rescues the fabled Shahrazad from the Sultan's wrath in this exciting and thought-provoking novel from Fletcher (Flight of the Dragon Kyn, 1993, etc.). With her crippled foot, Marian never expects to be dragged off to the palace, but that is what happens after a chance meeting with Shahrazad--the storyteller who wins her life each night with cliffhanging stories for the sultan, and who obtains a story from Marjan. Heartbroken at leaving her Aunt Chava and her Uncle Eli, Marian confronts cruelty within the palace's lush interior, where wives and concubines can be executed at the sultan's whim, and where the Khatun, the sultan's mother, spies on everyone. Dispatched by Shahrazad to find more stories, Marian sneaks out into the marketplace, where she eventually finds an old storyteller who tells her the end of a story of which the sultan has become fond. Beaten and imprisoned by the Khatun, Marian escapes the palace, only to return and tell the sultan an allegory that enables him to realize his love for Shahrazad, and to spare her life. Despite the licenses Fletcher takes with the story of Shahrazad, the novel may entice readers into the pages of Richard Button's far richer work; they will appreciate the power of storytelling--that it may expand the soul of even the most hardened listener.