This week I'm featuring The Eyes of Tamburah (Archives of the Invisible Sword #1) by Maria V. Snyder. It's another great fantasy from her. I think it's my favorite thing I've read of hers since the Study series. It's so good!
Shyla is a researcher who resides in the underground desert city of Zirdai, which is ruled by the wealthy Water Prince and brutal Heliacal Priestess. Even though Shyla is sun-kissed - an outcast, considered cursed by the Sun Goddess - she is still renowned for uncovering innumerable archaic facts, lost artefacts, ancient maps and obscure historical documents. Her quiet life is about to change when Banqui, an archaeologist, enlists her services to find The Eyes of Tamburah: legendary gemstones that bestow great magic on their wielder. These ancient objects can tip the balance of power and give whoever possesses them complete control of the city.
But chaos erupts when The Eyes are stolen soon after they're found - and Shyla is blamed for the theft. Forced to flee, with the Prince's soldiers and the Priestess's deacons on her trail, Shyla must recover the jewels and clear her name. A quest that will unearth secrets even more valuable than The Eyes of Tamburah themselves...
The heat thickened the air in Shyla's room to an uncomfortable level. Sweat slicked her skin and dampened her sleeveless tunic. She adjusted the mirrors to better capture the thin ray of sunlight streaming through a single mirror pipe extruding from her ceiling. Moving another reflective panel until it illuminated the ancient map spread over her table, she resumed her work. The faded ink was barely discernable as it crossed the velbloud skin.
Shyla ran up the side of the dune. Or rather, she tried. Her boots sank into the sand up to her knees, limiting the speed of her ascent. And the sun... Oh the sun... It seared through the fibers of her sun cloak like tiny hot iron pokers. If she didn't know better, she'd swear flames danced on the garment.