A lone caravan braving a desert twice as wide as the Sahara. A mad queen bent on revenge. A global crime syndicate. A 300-year plague. Dueling spy guilds. Spirits who feed on human souls.
And at the heart of it all, Kandri and Mektu Hinjuman: the two most wanted men in a war-torn world.
Sidewinders, the second book in The Fire Sacraments trilogy, is a longer, stranger, and altogether more ambitious tale than its predecessor Master Assassins. It follows Kandri and Mektu through the Sumuridath Jal, the Ravenous Lands, a desert of terrible size and innumerable wonders.
Now part of a caravan led by a severe desert Master, the brothers must cross this land of monsters and magic, lost cities and gemlike oases, shapeshifting thieves and famished ghouls—all the while pursued by the fanatical legions of Her Radiance the Prophet. Their destination: Kasralys, the great 3000-year-old Fortress City beyond the sands, where the knowledge they carry may bring about the end of a centuries-old Plague, and where Kandri prays he will find his lover, Dr. Ariqina Nawhal, years after she vanished without a trace.
But Sidewinders also follows the stories of the generals, princes, spies, and scholars whose lives are intertwined with the city—and the looming siege that will decide the fate of the world. All roads lead to Kasralys, and all the world's clashing powers want the gift Kandri and Mektu are bearing to its people. If they fail, disease, death, and corruption must triumph. If they succeed, the world has a fighting chance.
"I love this book, goddamnit. Robert V. S. Redick gives a fantasy reader everything her fiendish heart craves: plagues, prophets, demonic possessions, a desperate dash through desert dunes, giant spiders, giant cats, creepy children, plenty of vulgarity and sex, and an all-too-brief glimpse of paradise. So sure, if you like that kind of thing, go for it. Read this book. It’s for you. But wait, there’s more. For your not-so-average fantasy reader, your not-so-run-of-the-mill genre-lover, I beg you, look to Sidewinders. For it will give you ambiguity and delicacy. It will not spare you of its irony—and, oh, such irony! Its pages will impart so profound and aching an empathy that it just might leap off the page and follow you into your daily life. There is such courage in Robert V. S. Redick’s Sidewinders—such courage and fury and passion and hope. Truly a breathtaking work. - World Fantasy Award Winner C.S.E. Cooney, author of Bone Swans.