The Steel Seraglio

By Mike Carey

Cast out of the Arabian urban of Bessa through the hot tyrannical sultan, a harem of 365 ladies needs to forge a military, a seraglio of metal, and use it to take again town. yet no matter if they prevail, their issues will simply be beginning—because their most deadly enemy is inside their very own quantity . . . .

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You come back the following fairly often,” Rem answered, “you needs to locate many stuff that you simply like. i'm Rem, the 3rd Librarian the following, and that i will be honoured in the event you might take a few of these scrolls away with you, that you could be learn them at your rest. I purely ask that you just maintain them secure. ” the guy positioned his head on one facet, looked to be contemplating. “I’m Nabeeb,” he stated. “I recognize what you’re asking. I’ve visible you chatting with others prior to. It won’t paintings, you recognize. ” “What? ” Rem used to be startled into abruptness, and there has been an aspect to her voice. “I purely meant,” he replied, conserving up a hand in placation, “that it's going to take you a long time. contributors, a couple of scrolls at a time. It’s no approach to transparent a library this dimension. ” Rem leaned towards him, eyes brightening with curiosity. “Do you've gotten a greater notion? ” “Corpses,” he spoke back speedily, after which, in a shy rush, “I am an undertaker by means of alternate. All corpses needs to be buried outdoors the city’s partitions. So, I arrange them for burial, then force them outdoors Bessa’s gates. The funerals themselves happen inside urban limits: whilst i really bury the our bodies, i'm by myself. I by no means get any hassle, from the Palace defend or the Ascetics. everyone is cast off via the assumption of looking out a hearse—it turns out disrespectful, someway. So if I have been to hold a few scrolls out with me the following time I make a burial journey, i'll get them outdoors the town in entire protection. lets wrap them in winding sheets, and not anyone could ever imagine to envision them. ” “What may ensue then? ” Rem requested. “They could be hardly ever any more secure in the midst of the barren region than they're right here. ” “I have a few pals in Perdondaris who've related pursuits to myself. i will write to them now, ask them in the event that they will take the scrolls again to their urban. i do know it’s an extended way,” he stated anxiously, noticing how Rem’s face fell, “but at the very least they are going to be in reliable arms, among those that will price them. ” With the chance of good fortune abruptly so close to, the idea that she may possibly fairly be capable of keep the total Library from destruction, Rem was once suddenly engulfed through a sense of desolation. the idea of the never-ending avenues of her urban bereft of scrolls, the echoing vacancy that may substitute the residing silence she enjoyed, damage like a fist to the tummy. She embraced Nabeeb a bit tougher than she had meant, thanking him profusely for his kindness. He blushed, insisted that no thank you have been useful. “I’m doing this for romance, like you,” he mumbled, unexpectedly embarrassed. on condition that the mail carrier among Bessa and Perdondaris was once made from a unmarried recalcitrant camel, the answer from Nabeeb’s associates used to be decades coming. He visited the Library each day, and each day he met Rem’s eyes with a moderate shake of his head, unhappiness within the set of his shoulders. in the meantime, Rem persevered with the long term loans, although at Nabeeb’s insistence she made her enquiries extra sophisticated. “Stealing from the sultan’s Library remains to be a treasonable offence, Rem, regardless of the circumstances,” he reminded her.

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