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Smoke in the Sun
Cover of Smoke in the Sun
Smoke in the Sun
Flame in the Mist Series, Book 2
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The highly anticipated sequel to New York Times bestselling Flame in the Mist—an addictive, sumptuous finale that will leave readers breathless from the bestselling author of The Wrath and the...
The highly anticipated sequel to New York Times bestselling Flame in the Mist—an addictive, sumptuous finale that will leave readers breathless from the bestselling author of The Wrath and the...
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  • The highly anticipated sequel to New York Times bestselling Flame in the Mist—an addictive, sumptuous finale that will leave readers breathless from the bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn.
    After Okami is captured in the Jukai forest, Mariko has no choice—to rescue him, she must return to Inako and face the dangers that have been waiting for her in the Heian Castle. She tricks her brother, Kenshin, and betrothed, Raiden, into thinking she was being held by the Black Clan against her will, playing the part of the dutiful bride-to-be to infiltrate the emperor's ranks and uncover the truth behind the betrayal that almost left her dead.
    With the wedding plans already underway, Mariko pretends to be consumed with her upcoming nuptials, all the while using her royal standing to peel back the layers of lies and deception surrounding the imperial court. But each secret she unfurls gives way to the next, ensnaring Mariko and Okami in a political scheme that threatens their honor, their love and very the safety of the empire.

Excerpts-

  • From the book Tall and Proud and Hapless

    This was a scene from a story she'd heard before.

    A young woman in her rightful place, ensconced at the Golden Castle. Betrothed to the son of the emperor's favorite consort. Bestowing honor to the Hattori name.

    The scented water in the wooden furo felt the same as it did at home. Like heated silk sliding across her skin. The hands scrubbing at Mariko's arms and shoulders did so in much the same way they'd done at home — without mercy, until her pale skin shone like that of a newborn child, pink and raw and perfect. A servant with permanent lines of judgment marrying her brow yanked a comb inlaid with mother-of-pearl through Mariko's hair in much the same way her nursemaid had when she was younger.

    It all felt so similar.

    But if Mariko could be certain of nothing else now, she could be certain her life would never be the same again.

    Under her brother's watchful care, they'd arrived in Inako late last night. To an imperial city cloaked in mourning. To streets teeming with whispers. Today was the funeral of their emperor, who had died suddenly, beneath a veil of suspicion. Upon discovering his body, the empress's wailing was said to have been heard across all seven maru. Even beyond the castle's iron-and-gold-plated double gates. She'd screamed murder. Raged at all those nearby, accusing them of treachery. It had taken a flock of maidservants to soothe her and begin ushering her toward her tears.

    Toward final whimpers of resignation.

    But beneath this hushed intensity seethed something sinister. Last night — when the second pair of gates leading to the castle had creaked closed behind their convoy — the air around Mariko had stilled. The faint breeze blowing past the woven screen of her norimono had sighed a final sigh. An owl had blared across the firmament, its cry ringing off the stone walls.

    As though in warning.

    Here in Inako, Mariko would not be granted a moment's respite. Nor did she wish for one. She would not allow herself anything of the sort.

    For deep in the bowels of the same castle, the last in a line of celebrated shogun awaited his impending doom: the final judgment of the imperial city. And the lies this city wore — lies cloaked in silk and steel — shimmered beneath the surface, ready to take shape. No matter the cost, Mariko would mold them into what they should have been from the start:

    The truth.

    She bit down hard on nothing. Braced herself for the coming fight. It would be unlike any Okami and the Black Clan had taught her in Jukai forest. In this fight, she would not have weapons of wood and metal and smoke at her disposal. She would instead be armed with nothing more than her mind and her own mettle. This would be precisely the kind of fight she'd unknowingly prepared for as a child, when she'd pitted herself against her brother Kenshin.

    In a game of wits against brawn.

    Here in Inako, Mariko's armor would not be hardened leather and an ornamented helmet. It would be perfume and powdered skin. She had to convince Prince Raiden — her betrothed — to trust her. She needed him to cast her as the hapless victim instead of the willing villain.

    Though I plan to be a villain in all ways.

    If it took everything from Hattori Mariko — even her very life — she would not allow those she loved to fall prey to those set on destroying them. She would learn the truth about who conspired to kill her that day in the forest. Why they attempted to frame the Black Clan for the deed. And what deeper cause lay beneath their designs.

    Even if those at the...

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    June 1, 2018
    It's out of the outlaw forest and into the imperial court in this conclusion of a fantasy duology set in an alternate feudal Japan.Newly "rescued" from the Black Clan, Hattori Mariko returns to the path her noble family prescribes, affianced to the brother of the new Emperor of Wa. Mariko resolves to play the meek, dutiful maiden (even if that requires actually marrying brutal Raiden) in order to spy for the rebels and possibly rescue her beloved Okami. But with dark powers threatening everything Mariko cherishes, her cleverness may not be enough. With admirable brio, Ahdieh (Flame in the Mist, 2017, etc.) serves up intrigues and counterintrigues, battles and betrayals, harrowing scenes of graphic torture and interludes of heated romance, conveyed through no fewer than seven viewpoints. Nuanced female characters drive the action, including a gratifyingly matured Mariko: less preternaturally ingenious but more intelligent and aware; less insistent upon honor but unshakable in her integrity. Unfortunately, the choppy, overwrought prose again substitutes a deluge of Japanese vocabulary for thoughtful worldbuilding. The magical system, while clarified, still fails to fully explore its implications. Eventually the snarl of complicated schemes lurches to a rushed climax--entangling a (clichéd) lunatic villain, an (implausible) heel-face turn, and a (no, really!) weaponized zombie apocalypse--followed by a discordant epilogue littered with jaunty romantic banter and abandoned plotlines.Absolutely necessary to those who loved the first; otherwise mostly incoherent. (Fantasy. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Smoke in the Sun
Smoke in the Sun
Flame in the Mist Series, Book 2
Renée Ahdieh
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Renée Ahdieh
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