Hadir, it is said, commissioned the god of the earth, Huliman, to open the wells, all one thousand of them, and became sultan after inheriting the shield bearing army of sultan Baroda.
Done with scouring the desert with his army in search of the remnants of the slave-drivers so he could kill them and take their supplies, Hadir was set to enjoy the sweet taste of all royalty had to offer, the luxury of his palaces, the beautiful women who thronged the foot of his throne, the gold throne he stole from Zulain, the infamous deity, the one he is obsessed with and would not give up even if he suspected that it emitted a strange kind of power, that it called forth the women whenever he was filled with the desire for their kind, that it made his men restless so they yearned for war, that it craved blood, or made him crave blood so his right hand would quiver on the armrest of the gold throne. With a tinge of guilt in his heart that he stole from the god, Zulain, Hadir was set to enjoy all these when news came to him of the return of the slavers with a hundred thousand men. And then, even before he could digest that, it was also brought to his notice that Asene, the dark-skinned warrior who fought beside him against the slavers, the first time they invaded the continent, had become king and united the whole south and was marching north in his direction with the same amount of men and had vowed to take or crush every city in his path on his way to destroy Hadir.
Even within his city, the peace Hadir sought eluded him as he soon discovered that half the inhabitants were followers of Zulain when they demanded that he served as an emissary of the god, Zulain in the flesh while they prayed before the throne or hand over the gold throne. Hadir agreed to none, debunked the rumours that he was Zulain or his son and told them to pray in their houses. Things got heated with the refugees fleeing Asene's onslaught from the south and those who fled from the campaign of the slavers from the north all trooping to his city, and before he could get all of these under control, the worst happened.
Alexander Siff scores again with Hadir's book (The power of the throne), sequel to Hadir's book (One thousand wells), and like the prequel, this is beautifully written. The plotting, sequencing and overall delivery all bespeaks the skill of the writer. Favourite quote; a poem dedicated to the goddess, Miran.
Beautiful but equally hideous
Wants to be loved, revered and treasured
Like the blue rose that dwells amongst the black rocks of mount Taruk
She left her sanctuary to seek her heartthrob
Eyes so blue it glowed in the dark
An empty heart so dark it sought a spark
One wondered at the sight of her
If the sight of vermin to prefer
Into the light of day she came
But many did she scare away
She withdrew herself back into the depths of her dark cave
And was not seen another day