As the heroes of the first four books, WEST, EAST, SOUTH and NORTH gather on the mythical battlefield at Kadesh (c900bce), they square off in unexpected alliances while the peace-bride, Princess Harranish, struggles to decide the fate of history's two greatest empires. Will she choose forgiveness or vengeance? The consequences of her actions have come down to us over the millenniums and greet us every day on the morning news.
Slipping past the boy-king's exhausted army, the young giant Keelunt retrieves a dead Hittite messenger's sword, hidden just days before. He intends to use it defending his queen's life, a mere Kritti girl who chance has bequeathed the imprisoning title Tawannanus, a shadow queen of the Hittite Empire. She has already escaped numerous assassination attempts. Now she and Keelunt are trapped by drought, famine and war.
Keelunt is soon accused of murder, for the sword belonged to the King of Harran and had been taken to war by his disgraced son, Attili. It is Attili's sister, Harranish, who accuses him and she will not seal the peace treaty with marriage until the has her justice.
Plotting to exploit this complication, the Hittite wizard and chief scribe, Kizzu, tries to intimidate the Egyptian negotiator, Cenemanu, whom he mistakes for an amateur. She is anything but, yet must maintain this guise in order to further her king's own plot. Even a land hungry freeman might be come suspicious if he won huge territories without anything close to victory on the battlefield.
But what of the boy-king, Shi-shi. Was he really the fool Harranish had seen thrown from his chariot at the first light of dawn, charging his ancient enemy? How did such a lightweight command vast armies and a fabled empire? How would she find a place in so strange a country?
Even as friendships developed between her and her brother's killers, as she found herself drawn to the boy-king, and battled the overwhelming sadness of her own lost family and their timeless holdings, she came to possess the kind of certainty which creates history and, more important, legend, myth and timeless storyline.
The Starlight On Stone series is replete with historic places, star myths and unusual viewpoints. Visual. Layered. Engrossing, like Mehen the Enveloper.