Captivating first novel, first of a promised four-book series.
The Andat are a sort of malevolent spiritual entity that, when bound by an order of “poets,” have power that can be used as a kind of magic. In the city of Saraykeht, the local Andat, under the control of the city's poet, is used to speed cotton harvests, but that, and the economic future of the city, is in jeopardy when a conspiracy involving a pregnant foreign girl goes awry, leaving her baby dead. The intricate plot unfolds from the viewpoints of a woman trade advisor—who makes it her quest to find those responsible for the dead child—and two students of the Dai-kvo poet school—one an esteemed poet, the other an outcast—and their mutual lover, all of whom are caught in the wake of the conspiracy’s crime, and who will have their lives forever changed by it. Most “otherworldly” fantasy is anything but, yet here Abraham has created an evocative world and culture that seems very strange and alien, yet still somehow feels real. The plot is a bit slow-moving, but it pays off for the patient reader and should leave fans eager for the next installment.
An impressive start.