A slave escapes across the wilderness and cities of the Mede empire with an enemy soldier.
Kamet is proud to be the enslaved secretary to Nahuseresh, former ambassador to Attolia. He must endure his master’s moods and is sometimes badly flogged, but he will one day belong to the emperor’s heir and will become exceedingly powerful. Still, even a respected slave is no freeman; when a fellow slave tells Kamet that their master’s been poisoned, he flees the household to avoid inevitable torture and slow death. He joins a young Attolian soldier who claims to be on a mission from his king and promises Kamet his freedom. Kamet has every intention of escaping from the Attolian, but a deep affection grows as they survive elite imperial forces, slavers, near starvation, and even aggressive dogs. Their journey and friendship parallel that of Immakuk and Ennikar, legendary Mede heroes who evoke Gilgamesh and Enkidu in this Persian-feeling empire. This series fifth can stand alone without reading the rest of the books, although brown-skinned Kamet and the light-skinned Attolian are previously introduced characters. Kamet’s growth as this loyal slave develops self-reflection is first-rate. As with Turner’s other Attolia books, this invites an older audience, but the perilous journey, character growth, and understated affection of shield brothers offer more teen appeal than the political drama of earlier Queen’s Thief novels.
A series stand-alone that won’t disappoint Turner aficionados. (Fantasy. 14-adult)