Twelve Kings in Sharakhai

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Twelve Kings in Sharakhai is the exciting new Arabian Nights-inspired epic fantasy from the critically acclaimed author of The Lays of Anuskaya.

Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings—cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite company of Blade Maidens, and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.

Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings’ laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings’ mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings’ power…if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don’t find her first.

See the Best Books of 2015 lists that have include Twelve Kings in Sharakhai:

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Twelve Kings in Sharakhai


What They’re Saying

“Beaulieu has proved himself able to orchestrate massive storylines in his previous series, the Lays of Anuskaya trilogy. But Twelve Kings lays down even more potential. Fantasy and horror, catacombs and sarcophagi, resurrections and revelations: The book has them all, and Beaulieu wraps it up in a package that’s as graceful and contemplative as it is action-packed and pulse-pounding.”
NPR Books

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai is the gateway to what promises to be an intricate and exotic tale. The characters are well defined and have lives and histories that extend past the boundaries of the plot. The culture is well fleshed out and traditional gender roles are exploded. Çeda and Emre share a relationship seldom explored in fantasy, one that will be tried to the utmost as similar ideals provoke them to explore different paths. I expect that this universe will continue to expand in Beaulieu’s skillful prose. Wise readers will hop on this train now, as the journey promises to be breathtaking.”
Robin Hobb, author of The Assassin’s Apprentice

“The protagonist, pit-fighter Çeda, is driven but not cold, and strong but not shallow. And the initial few scenes of violence and sex, while very engaging, soon give way to a much richer plot. Beaulieu is excellent at keeping a tight rein on the moment-to-moment action and building up the tension and layers of mysteries.”
SciFiNow (9 / 10 Rating)

I am impressed… An exceedingly inventive story in a lushly realized dark setting that is not your uncle’s Medieval Europe. I’ll be looking forward to the next installment.”
Glen Cook, author of The Black Company

“This is an impressive performance.”
Publishers Weekly

“Racine novelist delivers a compelling desert fantasy in ‘Twelve Kings’.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Interview)

“Beaulieu’s intricate world-building and complex characters are quickly becoming the hallmarks of his writing, and if this opening volume is any indication, The Song of the Shattered Sands promises to be one of the next great fantasy epics.”
Jim Kellen, Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Buyer for Barnes & Noble

“Bradley P. Beaulieu’s new fantasy epic is filled with memorable characters, enticing mysteries, and a world so rich in sensory detail that you can feel the desert breeze in your hair as you read. Çeda is hands-down one of the best heroines in the genre—strong, resourceful, and fiercely loyal to friends and family. Fantasy doesn’t get better than this!”
C. S. Friedman, author of The Coldfire Trilogy

“Çeda’s quest hinges on the slow discovery of the way that myth, legend, and true history have been created and manipulated by the powerful and, in a genre where might (whether physical or magical) often makes right, she finds the means to undermine that power at its source: the stories that we tell each other about why things are the way they are, how the strong rationalize the abuse of the weak, and who has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.”
Kelly Anderson, B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog

“The kind of writer whose work is eagerly anticipated and this is a new series that could make the eyes shine especially brightly.”
The Bookbag

Exotic, sumptuous and incredibly entertaining, Beaulieu has created memorable characters in a richly imagined world.”
Michael J. Sullivan, author of The Riyria Chronicles

“Beaulieu’s fantasy worlds are well-imagined and richly drawn…the kind you want to keep visiting.”
Kirkus Speculative Reading List for September 2015

Twelve Kings is the best new Epic Fantasy I’ve read in years.”
Mark Yon, SFFWorld

“Complicated, rich, and endlessly fascinating.”
Paul Weimer, SFSignal (4.5 / 5 stars)

“I love Epic Fantasy for many reasons, not least of which is the fact every book is a portal to a whole new world. But when you read as much as this genre as I do, you sure get to visit a lot of them. That is why, when every once in a while I come across a setting that truly stands out, I sit up and take note. And Bradley P. Beaulieu’s Twelve Kings in Sharakhai made me do just that.”
—Mogsy at The BiblioSanctum (4.5 / 5 stars)

“If you like your fantasies complex and your worldbuilding done right, Twelve Kings in Sharakhai is for you.”
Little Red Reviewer

“I completed Twelve Kings a couple of days ago and still feel a bit blown away to be honest. This was a great read that I thoroughly enjoyed. It gets off to a gripping start and then continues to grip you for the rest of the story. I kid you not, when this arrived my first thought was ‘how many pages!!’. When I completed it – my first thought was ‘Are you sure there were that many pages – I want more??’”
Lynn’s Books

“The way the book ends will have you eager for the next installment.”
Romantic Times

“A memorable heroine, a poetically told tale of revenge, and superb world-building make Twelve Kings in Sharakhai a splendid read.”
John Marco, author of The Jackal of Nar and The Eyes of God

“Bradley Beaulieu has crafted a rich, fascinating world, filled it with compelling characters, and blended them into an epic tale that grabbed my attention on the first page and refused to let go. I look forward to more stories of Sharakhai.”
David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson, Author of Rules of Ascension and Thieftaker

“It’s hard to take a desert novel and not draw comparisons to Dune, but Beaulieu manages to create a rich, totally individual world, teeming with wonders and wondrous characters. Çeda and Emre and their relationship rings true and draws the reader on through magic, vengeance, and above all, excitement. A hellacious start to what looks like the next towering epic fantasy.”
John Hornor Jacobs, author of The Incorruptibles

“For once, I’m not begrudging the fact that I find myself tied into another series, because this is one of those that are totally worth the wait between books.”
Space and Sorcery

“One of the most intriguing protagonists to cross the page in years.”
Bob Milne, Beauty in Ruins

“Crammed with intrigue, suspense, and stunning action sequences. Engaging characters and masterful world-building.”
Howard Andrew Jones, author of The Desert of Souls

Pit fighting smugglers high on steroid-like flower petals alongside immortal plutocrats, who will do anything to keep on living, make this blood and sand fueled epic fantasy something to behold. Trust me. It’ll bowl-yer ass off.”
Justin Landon, Staffer’s Book Review and

“Brad Beaulieu’s Twelve Kings in Sharakai isn’t the same as the last epic fantasy you read. Like the desert sands of Sharakhai, this first volume of Beaulieu’s new series is a constantly shifting narrative of betrayal and friendship, loyalty and vengeance. Leave the farm boys to their chickens and the scullions to their pots, because Çeda’s bringing a knife to this fight. It’s vivid and diverse, full of complex relationships, eye-opening magic, and world building for this new age of fantasy that’s broken out of its medieval shackles.”
Aidan Moher, A Dribble of Ink

“A breathtaking setting, a marvelously twisty plot, more intrigue than you can shake a stick at, and a cleverly drawn, strong protagonist to follow through it all.”
Over the Effing Rainbow

“Twelve Kings immediately immerses you in a rich and vibrant world.”
Misti Cooper, Forbidden Planet

“A beautifully rich, absorbing novel.”
SFBook Reviews (5/5)

“Betrayal. Love. Revenge. Political upheaval. Compelling characters twisting and turning their way through a fast-paced plot set against a realer than real desert backdrop – How can readers of Twelve Kings not be impressed?”
Sarah Chorn, Bookworm Blues

A lavish epic featuring gods, gangs, gladiators and everything in-between. With its deliciously original magic system, vast new world, reckless heroine and sinister array of ageless villains, this is a must for fans of Brandon Sanderson.”
Jared Shurin, Pornokitsch

“The start of a grand fantasy epic; it’s also the start of a personal story, one lined with great characters, in a fully realised, fantastic world. The text seizes both of these things, blends them, and makes something great.”
Chris Meadows, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviews

“This was, by far, the best ‘epic fantasy’ work I’ve read in years.”

“Twelve Kings in Sharakhai may well be the best epic fantasy novel of the year.”
Rising Shadow

“You will be wanting to read the sequel immediately. A beautiful richly imagined story that will end high in my top 2015 list.”
The Book Plank

“I expect The Song of Shattered Sands to be a major series.”
Keith West, Adventures Fantastic

“One of the best books I’ve read this year.”
Abhinav Jain, Shadowhawk’s Shade (8.5 / 10)

“It not only brings a cracking fantasy female principle character to the fore but also starts out a series with one hell of a bang.”
Falcata Times

An incredible book that you won’t want to put down and will always leave you wanting more.”
Observant Raven Book Reviews (9 / 10)

“This is an effortless tale, which weaves complex and detailed story lines, to create a story that is not only compelling but also exciting.”
Escapades of a Bookworm (4 / 5)

One of THE fantasy books of the year and a series that will surely be up there with the Big Boys.”
Terror Tree (9.5 / 10)

“Within a handful of pages, and a violently efficient pit fight, I was convinced Twelve Kings and I were going to get along famously.”
The Eloquent Page

“Oh my this book was…sweeping, engrossing, absorbingastounding.”
Reality’s a Bore (5 / 5)

“Çeda is a well-crafted, fully rounded character: good, but not without flaws; a strong fighter, but not always the best in combat; clever, but not always the smartest in the room; likable but not always admirable.”
Bill Capossere, Fantasy Literature (4 / 5)

“It’s a gorgeous story that kept me entertained for hours, and I had a book hangover when it ended. I wasn’t ready to leave the desert behind, and I’m jittery with anticipation for the next installment of Çeda’s journey.”
My Bookish Ways

“Twelve Kings in Sharakhai is a complex novel with crisp prose that is a joy to read.”
Black Gate

“Twelve Kings is an immersive door into a fantastical kingdom… A very nice beginning to the series.”
Black Girl Nerds

“Bradley is one of the genre’s finest talents pushing the boundaries and scope of fantasy. And he proves it again in fantastic style with the Twelve Kings in Sharakhai.”
Smorgasbord Fantasia

“This looks like the beginnings of a terrific new fantasy series.”
The Digital Fix – Geeklife

What Booktubers are Saying

5/5 Stars from Chè Adventure

4.5/5 Stars from Kaitlin Gray (Kitty G)

5/5 Stars from Michael at Bitten by a Radioactive Book