Liviu's Reviews > Secrets of the Sands

Secrets of the Sands by Leona Wisoker
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Jul 23, 14

bookshelves: 2010_release_read, genre-fantasy, read_2010
Read from February 22 to 27, 2010

A novel I found more or less by chance - the cover (not the one above though as of the day of the review) intrigued me and then I liked the excerpt - which turned out to be a big positive surprise as well as quite different from what I expected. While it starts as a traditional fantasy, it twists and turns quite a lot and it goes into quite unexpected directions.

There are two threads: one that follows the semi-exiled desert lord Cafad Scratha and his accidental servant and former street boy Idisio as they try to do a good faith accounting of their mission from new king Oruen to research the history of the northern (non-desert and dominated by an intolerant religion) part of the kingdom until they stumble on unexpected happenings, people, facts and conspiracies that will change a lot what we think we know about the world of the novel. This one is a traditional picaresque adventure to a large extent, though the twists and turns make it quite unpredictable

The second one follows Alyea, a young girl of mid-nobility who happens to be a one time lover of the king and current protegee of his but with a dark and violent past in times when the Northern Church was dominant in the capital too and she was branded as a "heretic"; she is sent to administer the Scratha domain in the name of King Oruen; though her two mysterious and seemingly at odds "advisers" Chaq and Micru are supposed to "instruct" her in the way of the desert until another mysterious character, ultra-rich merchant Deiq makes his interest in her known too; this thread is just superb end to end, a thread of exploration, intrigue, magic, initiation rites and much, much more

Of course the two threads converge though again not quite in a conventional way and the novel gets to a satisfying conclusion with of course the big picture to be explored further.

Secrets of the Sands is also quite dark in an understated way, with a world in which slavery, rape, and killing are facts of life and it all depends on whom does it to whom as "justice" and the "law" are concerned

Highly, highly recommended, both a haunting novel and a page turner and an A+ as an average of a solid A thread and an A++ thread
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