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UK Publisher: UK Duckworth/US Overlook.

This is set in the Beklan empire (of Shardik fame) but pre-date the events there. It concerns the story of Maia, a beautiful peasant girl, seduced by her step father and then abduced by slave traders to be sold as a concubine. She is fortunate to be befriended by Occula, an exotic but tough and worldly black girl and both move into Beklan high society as a result of their sexual allure.They enter a world of political corruption, espionage, love and warfare. Despite Fornis, the scheming, sexually predatory Sacred Queen, Maia finally discovers her true roots and destiny.