We’re just seven days away from the release of Hero at the Fall! This amazing fantasy series has been a wild roller coaster. After Traitor to the Throne turned things inside out, I can’t wait to find out how this series concludes!
Do you remember all the crazy in Traitor to the Throne? Well, here’s a handy recap that will tell you all you need to know before reading Hero at the Fall!
(Of course re-reading Traitor to the Throne will be much more rewarding, but this will do in a pinch!)
Now, before I begin, do I have to say this? Ok, just in case…
(You were warned!)
It’s six months after the big fight at Fahali. Remember this from Rebel of the Sands? Amani turned her fire-throwing half-brother Noorsham away from the Sultin’s Army and he ran off.
This victory publicly announces Rebel Prince Ahmed’s rebellion for a new dawn, a new desert. But now the real work begins!
Amani, newly recovered from a bad wound, is leading a mission: take over the city of Saramotai. Jin’s been on some super-secret spy mission since Amani got shot so it’s a small group that sneaks in.
They take over the city and break out all the women held captive — including her Aunt Safiyah! She meets her aunt for the first time and Safiyah is a healer. Very handy.
They get back to the rebel camp which is filled with a lot of tension. Keeping up the momentum of their fledgling rebellion is tough and they need a spy in the Sultan’s palace.
Amani learns that Ahmed hasn’t sent Jin on a super-secret spy mission. Jin ASKED to be sent away while Amani was almost dying. What?!?
Fortunately there’s a bit of happy news — Iman, a shapeshifting Demdji, is marrying Navid!
And in the middle of the festivities, Jin is back! It would have been a really awkward reunion, but Jin and Amani are interrupted when the Sultan’s army attacks the rebellion’s secret camp.
Amani uses her Demdji sand power to cover their retreat with a giant sandstorm. Exhausted, she escapes with the last of the rebels including Jin and Aunt Safiyah. He’s happy to see her, but Amani isn’t ready to figure out if she wants to yell at Jin or kiss him.
It doesn’t matter since Amani is kidnapped in the middle of the night by…Aunt Safiyah?!?! She wakes up on a ship bound for Izman and Safiyah is ready to claim the Sultan’s bounty on capturing Demdji. So much for a loving reunion!
When Amani wakes in Izman, she’s covered in stitches. The Sultan knows Demdji can be controlled by bronze engraved with their true Djinn name. The Sultan has such a piece sewn into her body along with 11 pieces of iron so she can’t move sand. Now she has to obey the Sultan’s every command AND she’s without her power.
He orders her to stay so now she can’t escape. It’s a good thing the Sultan doesn’t know she’s the Blue-Eyed Bandit and with Ahmed’s rebellion or one command from him would spoil everything.
Who does Amani have to thank for these non-upgrades? Her old friend Tamid! He may have been crushing on her long ago, but after she left him in the dust (literally) he’s not feeling so warm and fuzzy. Their dead-end little town was filled with legends about the First Beings so Tamid is quite the Djinn scholar and a helpful pet for the Sultan.
The Sultan needs Amani for a specific trick: As a Demdji, if she chants some special words and the name of a Djinn, she can call them up. The Sultan knows her father’s name so he forces Amani to summon her father, Bahadur, and imprisons him in iron.
Bahadur is not happy about being called and trapped. The Sultan threatens Amani’s life to coerce Bahadur into giving up the names of more Djinni. Bahadur refuses to give up any names. He doesn’t care about his daughter so, yeah, he’s just like the rest of her family.
Well, the Sultan doesn’t kill Amani since she’s still useful. He keeps her locked up in the harem. Not for his, um, use, but because it’s basically a lady prison.
She meets the heir to the throne, the Sultim, Prince Kadin aka another one of Jin and Ahmed’s bazillion half-siblings. He’s from the idiot side of the family tree.
Kadin likes to be surrounded by his groupie chicks. He’s looking to add Amani to his collection, but she’s not having it. Cue the palace intrigues…
Amani makes two sort-of allies. One is Princess Leyla who is a loner and concerned about her brother, Prince Rahim. (Rahm is second-in-command of the Sultan’s Iliaz army.) Leyla doesn’t have much influence, but at least she’s kind. She’s also crushing on Tamid and helping to construct a mechanical leg for him.
The other sort-of ally is the Sultima – the one woman who is FINALLY pregnant with Kadin’s child. His dad, the Sultan, was really prolific since Jin has a million half siblings, but Kadin…not so much. So the first woman to carry his baby is known as the exulted Sultima who Amani knows as…awful cousin Shira.
Shira is still pretty awful, but she and Amani understand each other. Amani blackmails her into getting a message to the outside. Shira’s method for smuggling in contraband items? Sam, a roguish gentleman thief who can walk through stone walls. He also claims to be the Blue-Eyed Bandit which explains why the Bandit is also known for seducing women.
Amani has Sam send a message to General Hamad’s daughter (aka Shazad) to say that she’s okay and in the palace. Communication with the outside world! Now Amani can be the spy the rebellion needs, right? She just needs info!
Amani uses her handy Demdji skill as bait — she becomes the Sultan’s lie detector. Djinn can’t tell lies so if she can’t repeat someone’s claim, it’s not true.
It’s a win/win situation since the Sultan leverages her talent in his cease-fire negotiations and Amani gets to hear everything.
After enough meetings, Amani figures out Prince Kadin is wildly inappropriate for the throne and Leyla’s brother, Rahim, is a good guy — even if he shot her. Yes, he’s the one that shot her months ago and put her on her almost-death bed, but it wasn’t personal.
Rahim knows Amani is on the rebel’s side, but he’s not turning her in. He wants Amani to rescue Leyla and offers up his portion of the army for the rebellion.
Shira has the baby and he’s got his father’s…. blue hair. Kadin is NOT the father. Damn those dominant Djinn genes!
Well, this is not something that can be hidden so Shira will be executed for treason. To save her baby, Fadi, she gives up the father’s name, Fereshteh. Uh oh.
The Sultin makes Amani call up Fereshteh and threatens to kill Baby Fadi. Fereshteh gives up the names of a dozen more Djinni. The Sultan forces Amani to summon them and then, suddenly, it’s very crowed in the iron prison.
Shira could give up info on the rebellion, but she agrees to keep silent if Amani will save Baby Fadi. Djinn dads can grant a wish to the mother and Shira wished that Fadi will be a great Sultan.
The rebels sneak Fadi out and fake his death. Kadin (stupidly) wants a public execution for drama queen Shira. On stage, she curses Kadin to a childless existence and praises Ahmed’s rebellion. Riots ensue. It’ll be known as the Blessed Sultima’s Uprising.
Amani visits the only other person that knew Shira well — Tamid. He doesn’t believe in the rebellion, but he feels guilty about what he did to Amani. He removes the bronze that allows the Sultan to control her, thus giving her a chance to scape. He’s saving her life.
The rebels plan one BIG escape for Amani, Leyla and all the imprisoned Djinn during a fancy party with all the big wigs of the cease-fire. They can sneak rebels inside the festivities to help create a distraction.
Shazad, the great general’s daughter is there. Amani sees Iman the shapeshifter, Hala the illusionist, Sam is in disguise and…..Jin.
(Record scratch) What? Jin is in disguise as a Xichian translator.
The plan moves ahead until Amani heads to the iron prison to free the Djinni. She sees Leyla is working on some mechanical thing that BEHEADS Fereshteh! An Immortal! A First Being!
Fereshteh‘s energy gets zapped into a machine which suddenly brings the palace’s bronze statues to life.
These statues, Abdals, are made to obey orders without question. They can set things on fire. Or people. People such as visiting diplomats. Negotiations are done.
Clearly the party is over so it’s time to run even if they can’t free the Djinni. While escaping, Amani and Jin are cornered by Kadin. The Sultan busts in and kills Kadin since he wasn’t right for the throne. The Sultan has the Abduls so he figures no one can challenge him. He’s also got plenty more kids so Kadin’s death is NBD.
Amani and Jin flee to a safe house. They finally get a moment to themselves. She decides to kiss him. Finally!
Basically all the rebels escape the palace with Amani, Tamid and a reluctant Leyla. That’s everyone but Rahim.
Without Rahim, they don’t have an army. Rahim’s commander, Bilal offers up the very same army if Ahmed will give him a Demdji to marry. Bilal is dying, but marriage to a Demdji means he will live as long as she does. The only unmarried female Demdji are Princess Delia and Amani. Delia is willing to make the sacrifice, but no one thinks this is ideal.
Amani still has iron under her skin, holding back her Demdji powers. Since Tamid won’t remove them, she seeks out her Aunt Safiyah. Ugh. Not a lot of great healers out there.
Hala (the illusionist) makes Safiyah think she’s operating on her beloved sister and not Amani. Safiyah removes all of the iron, though one of the pieces was quite close other gunshot wound so Amani’s able to move sand, but it hurts a bit. But her power is back!
Meanwhile, the rebellion is working on the lack-of-an-army issue. If they rescue Rahim, they wouldn’t need to sell off someone in marriage. Rahim is being moved so the rebels plan a raid…and whoops! Leyla was helping the Sultan all along and was playing Amani and Rahim for all she’s worth.
The failed rescue ends with Ahmed, Shazad, Iman, Delia and Navid captured. Things get worse when Ahmed is sentenced to death and publicly executed.
Amani gets a good look at him and realizes it’s shapeshifter Iman in disguise. He/she took Ahmed’s place which means Navid died since a Demdji marriage means their lives are linked.
Looks like Amani is going to temporary lead the rebellion AND get Ahmed & friends free. Oh, the Sultan has an Abdul army and a dozen Djinn.
Yikes! What happens next?!?!
Hero at the Fall is out on March 6th! Here’s the official summary:
“When gunslinging Amani Al’Hiza escaped her dead-end town, she never imagined she’d join a revolution, let alone lead one. But after the bloodthirsty Sultan of Miraji imprisoned the Rebel Prince Ahmed in the mythical city of Eremot, she doesn’t have a choice. Armed with only her revolver, her wits, and her untameable Demdji powers, Amani must rally her skeleton crew of rebels for a rescue mission through the unforgiving desert to a place that, according to maps, doesn’t exist. As she watches those she loves most lay their lives on the line against ghouls and enemy soldiers, Amani questions whether she can be the leader they need or if she is leading them all to their deaths.”
Pre-order your copy now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Indie bookstores! Don’t forget to submit your receipt here for bonus short stories and a chance for some gifts!
Share on Facebook