In the heart of the Hindu Kush lies a land where women, and women only, are the bearers of true magic. In Gandhara, women rule.
For most, this magic is an everyday thing: light a fire, lift a weight, summon an errant child, chastise a man. But for a few it is more. Every once in a while a girl child is born with vast potential for wild magic, magic capable of awful harm. The only cure is early marriage and children of their own to "ground" them so they may harness their power to the service of the clan. But what if such a one is unable to bear a child?
That is the fate of Tamai: she must leave Gandhara forever. Exile that she is, Tamai still serves Gandhara as best she may in the outer world. Already she has managed to convince the British to defend her people from the encroaching Russians. But now she must pay the British prices: help them penetrate the demon-ingested borderland that has for ages secluded the tabled empire of Chin behind a veil of mystery.
If only she can divest the English of their belief in male supremacy and their disbelief in demons, they may have a chance....