Soleri by Michael Johnston

Michael Johnston

Tor Books
(Release Date: June 13, 2017)

The Soleri, gods among men, have ruled the world for almost 3,000 years. Their capital of Solus is a marvel of art and architecture, run through with elaborate rituals.

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” . . . characters who step right off the page in a rich and complex world . . .”

Only the First Ray of the Sun may gaze upon the face of the Emperor without suffering instant death. The Mother of the Priesthood controls the faith, the Father controls the imperial army – and both are ambitious for more power. 

The Hark-Wadis rule Harkana, one of the most powerful minor kingdoms in the empire. Decades ago the King of Harkana fought the empire to a standstill to prevent his son Arko being taken as a ransom, a hostage to ensure his good behavior. Unwilling to see further bloodshed, Arko himself yielded his son Ren to the harsh and cruel regime of the Priory, the prison in Solus where the ransoms are held. Arko sired two daughters by his wife Sarra, Merit and Kepi, before Sarra fled the doomed marriage to join the priesthood. The sophisticated Merit has her own agenda. Kepi is a tomboy more at home with weapons and armor than a sewing kit. For all her martial ways, Kepi has a strong sense of duty and submits to an arranged marriage with the neighboring King of Feren – a man Merit wants for herself. 

When Ren is released from the Priory he knows it will mean the death of his father. He’s desperate to reach home and also to ensure the safety of fellow ransoms, Adin and Tye, for in the treacherous world of the empire only the bond between them is solid. Yet the empire, eternal and unchanging, is in deep trouble. Arko along with Sarra, now the ruthless Mother of the Priesthood, discover a terrible secret, one that could shatter the empire forever. Soon the Hark-Wadi family are swept up in events where, unless they act fast, their survival could be a matter of hours. 

In Soleri, Johnston has created characters who step right off the page in a rich and complex world where sights, sounds and smells are brought to vivid life.

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Reviewer: Cindy A. Matthews