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Publisher's Summary

Khat, a member of a humanoid race created by the Ancients to survive in the Waste, and Sagai, his human partner, are relic dealers working on the edge of society, trying to stay one step ahead of the Trade Inspectors and to support Sagai's family. When Khat is hired to find relics believed to be part of one of the Ancients' arcane engines, they are both reluctant to become involved. But the request comes from the Warders, powerful mages who serve Charisat's Elector.
Khat soon discovers that the deadly politics of Charisat's upper tiers aren't the only danger. The relics the Warders want are the key to an Ancient magic of unknown power, and, as all the inhabitants of Charisat know, no one understands the Ancients' magic.
©1995 Martha Wells (P)2013 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"This finely crafted novel expertly combines several genres-SF, fantasy, horror-and, perhaps most impressive of all, even manages to avoid an overly sentimental ending." (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Fletter on 12-23-13

Sweet story great characters

Read this a long time ago and the audio is even better. Narrator does a great job.

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1 of 2 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Heather on 09-22-16

Weak storyline, annoying narration.

Another one of those books that people rate highly and I have no idea why. I suppose I always compare to other books like it and find it wanting. It really is the poor man's _____. This book is a combo dystopia/sci-fi/fantasy. If you want a fantasy/sci-fi mix, go for Prince of Thorns or if you need a female author The Fifth Season. If you want dystopia that is done better with created human improvement species, MaddAddam. Want the desert people aspect? Read Dune. The book was just really mediocre. I suppose if you like archaeology you might enjoy her obvious obsession with it, but given it's a made-up culture...not sure why you would read it. Also, it is a stand-alone book, so why bother slogging through the world-building? The dialogue was boring and, although there was a lot of action, it was one fight scene after another.

Right from the first word I didn't like the narration but I pushed through because of the high book ratings. I looked him up and it all became clear when I saw that he does voices for anime and cartoons. It just made an already weak book sound silly.

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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By emmoff on 11-17-16

Enjoyable post apocalypse fantasy

Martha Wells is such a wonderful world builder. This is one of her earlier efforts. Bone prophecies, relic hunters and ghost spirits on a post-apocalyptic world that is mostly desert littered with bones and sand and an ancient mystery tied by magic. A clever protagonist who is an outsider in the city. Very enjoyable with solid narration. (The Raksura novels are my favourites though :)

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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