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**From the acclaimed author of Fires of the Faithful comes the tale of an impetuous young woman, freeborn in a world of slavery and magic. **
Twenty-year-old Lauria is the favorite aide to Kyros, a powerful military officer. On his authority, she is messenger, observer, and spy. But now she is entrusted with a mission more dangerous than any that have come before. . . .
After years of relative peace, word has come to Kyros’s compound that the bandit tribe known as the Alashi is planning an offensive. It is up to Lauria to infiltrate the Alashi by posing as an escaped slave—a charge that requires she serve in the household of a neighboring officer. From there, she will stage an escape and continue on in her guise as a runaway.
But posing as a slave—a virgin concubine, no less—may prove the least of her troubles. For even if she does escape and the Alashi do accept her, how can this freeborn woman convince them she is slave, not spy? And, worse, what if her own views are gradually changing, calling everything she believes about her world into question?