Pyr, 2016. Cover art by Raymond Swanland.
The fugitive slave Ghu has ended the assassin Ahjvar's century-long possession by a murderous ghost.
Heir of the dying gods of Nabban, Ghu is drawn back to the empire that he fled as a boy, journeying east on the caravan road with Ahjvar at his side. Haunted by the memory of those he has slain, Ahjvar is ill in mind and body, a danger to those about him and to the man who loves him most of all. Tortured by violent nightmares, he believes himself mad. Only his determination not to leave Ghu to face his fate alone keeps Ahjvar from asking to be freed at last from his unnatural life.
Innocent and madman, god and assassin -- two men struggle to seize an empire from the tyrannical descendants of the devil Yeh-Lin. But in war-torn Nabban, enemies of gods and humans stir in the shadows. Yeh-Lin herself meddles with the heir of her enemies and his soul-shattered companion, as the fate of the empire rests on their shoulders.
"K.V. Johansen has crafted a captivating world of gods, demons, wizards and warriors. Enriched by a keen eye for character and masterly, lyrical prose, this is an insightful look at the corrosive nature of power on the human soul, not to mention featuring some of the best swordfights I've ever read." ~ Anthony Ryan, author of Blood Song and The Waking Fire
With this superlative follow-up to her Marakand series, set in a intriguing fantasy world, Johansen (The Lady) continues the story of erstwhile assassin and king Ahjvar and his traveling companion, the former slave Ghu, in rich, nuanced, and often poetic prose. ... Johansen’s latest is not to be missed. ~ Publishers' Weekly (starred review)