Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people - even her soul. When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her Fathers, Baru vows to hide her hate, join the Empire's civil service, and claw her way up enough rungs of power to put a stop to the Emperor's influence and set her people free. As a natural savant, she is sent as an imperial agent to distant Aurdwynn - a post she worries will never get her the position and power she craves. But Baru soon discovers Aurdwynn is a complex and secretive country, seemingly on the brink of rebellion. All it would need is a match to the tinder...
Drawn by the intriguing duchess Tain Hu into a circle of seditious aristocrats, Baru may be able to use her position to stoke a revolution that will threaten to bring the Empire to its knees. As Baru maintains a precarious balance between the rebels and a shadowy cabal within the Empire, she orchestrates a do-or-die gambit with Aurdwynn's freedom as the prize. But winning the long game of saving her own people may be far more costly than Baru imagines.
Shortlisted for the 2016 David Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Debut
[Published as The Traitor Baru Cormorant in the US]