A rollicking political fantasy inspired by Bolivian history and filled with irrepressible heroines, opulent settings, twisty court intrigue, bloody revolutions, and mouthwatering feasts.
Ximena Rojas has been the decoy for the Illustrian Condesa of Inkasisa ever since the Llacsan King Atoc overtook La Ciudad Blanca by unleashing murderous earthquakes and ghosts. Ximena’s own parents died in the siege, so when Atoc demands to marry the condesa, Ximena, a trained assassin with weaving powers given to her by the moon goddess, takes her place. At court, she finds unlikely allies and joins forces with a roguishly handsome Robin Hood figure, but she also begins to question whether her people should rightfully rule over the denizens of Inkasisa, who are brown-skinned and indigenous to the land they’re all fighting for. Action-filled scenes and steamy encounters push the narrative forward. Readers will never be sure whom to trust or which side to be on, especially as Ximena questions what she’s always learned about her lighter-skinned race. Themes of imperialism, genocide, and citizenship are punctuated by Spanish words and descriptions of delectable food and lavish clothing. Atoc doesn’t hesitate to torture or kill his enemies, which can make some scenes hard to stomach. Secondary characters get short shrift, but readers won’t think twice as they immerse themselves in the story.
A refreshing, page-turning debut. (map, glossary) (Fantasy. 14-adult)