Amina al-Sirafi should be content. After a storied and scandalous career as one of the Indian Ocean’s most notorious pirates, she’s survived backstabbing rogues, vengeful merchant princes, several husbands, and one actual demon to retire peacefully with her family to a life of piety, motherhood, and absolutely nothing that hints of the supernatural.

But when she’s tracked down by the obscenely wealthy mother of a former crewman, she’s offered a job no bandit could refuse: retrieve her comrade’s kidnapped daughter for a kingly sum. The chance to have one last adventure with her crew, do right by an old friend, and win a fortune that will secure her family’s future forever? It seems like such an obvious choice that it must be God’s will.

Yet the deeper Amina dives, the more it becomes alarmingly clear there’s more to this job, and the girl’s disappearance, than she was led to believe. For there’s always risk in wanting to become a legend, to seize one last chance at glory, to savor just a bit more power… and the price might be your very soul.

Shannon Chakraborty, the bestselling author of The City of Brass, spins a new trilogy of magic and mayhem on the high seas in this tale of pirates and sorcerers, forbidden artifacts and ancient mysteries, in one woman’s determined quest to seize a final chance at glory—and write her own legend.

Audiobook review

6 stars

What a grand adventure! That left me with a huge book hangover and I don’t get these easily!

First, Id’ like to praise de narrators! Lameece Issaq and Amin El Gamal did a splendid job to bring larger than life and roguish Amina Al Sirafi (and her scribe) to life!

Choosing a forty something heroine to live an epic adventure at sea was as brilliant as it was refreshing as we usually have younger females in the leading role. And as a woman of over fifty I found it just perfect!

Amina may be retired and has eyes for her daughter Marjana only, she can’t resist when presented with one last adventure: retrieving the daughter of a former crew member who has been kidnapped. All that to earn a fortune. No more leaking roof for her.

““I’m not sure I ever stopped being a nakhudha,” I finally replied. “Our hearts may be spoken for by those with sweet eyes, little smiles, and so very many needs, but that does not mean that which makes us us is gone. And I hope . . . part of me hopes anyway that in seeing me do this, Marjana knows more is possible. I would not want her to believe that because she was born a girl, she cannot dream.”

But she has lent her beloved ship the Marawat to her former navigator so the first step would be retrieve her ship and her crew.

That’s when we’ll meet Dalila the mistress of poison whose touch can literally be deadly and who has more than one trick in her bag.

Once Dalila rejoined Amina’s side, they’ll have a new ordeal as her former navigator and his crew have just been thrown into prison and are soon to be killed.

Of course for someone like Amina, it’s a walk in the park to free these men from their prison and make a daring escape by sea, threatening to capsize the military vessels trying to stop them in the lagoon!

And that sets the tone and brisk pace of the story.

With flamboyant escape, survival against all odds, the reappearance of old foes believed dead, sea monsters and more, we’ll follow the incredible adventures of Amina like we’d follow the legendary tales of Sinbad!

Amina is strong, fiercely protective of her crew, courageous and…has a bad knee after all these years. She is a Muslim, is sexually liberated and she is very ambitious. Amina has always dreamt of becoming a legend even if now a mother she tries to take less rash decisions and stay more on the narrow side of things.

Her trusted friends add an amazing layer of camaraderie with some being grouchy, Delilah being cunning and smart as a fox and all that merry band of former pirates dashes from one adventure to the other in their quest to retrieve the “kidnapped” daughter.

Shannon Chakraborty has once more what an epic storyteller she is! She has woven a tale full of magic, adventures and served by the best larger than life mature heroine.

I truly had an exceptional and jolly time listening to that fabulous audio and I recommend the story and the audio wholeheartedly! It will be one of my best reads of the year, I have no doubt!

Thanks for reading!


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  1. I love that this features a 40-something heroine! When does that ever happen in fantasy novel? And it sounds like the narration was top notch. So happy this was such a huge hit for you, Sophie!

  2. I have heard quite a few great things about this one. I may have to grab the audio if I do decide to give it a try. I am so glad that you loved it.