We’re so excited for Hero at the Fall, the finale in the Rebel of the Sands trilogy by Alwyn Hamilton! In case you missed our Rebel of the Sands recap, read that first, then start your Traitor to the Throne refresh here! Alwyn has written us a wonderful recap that will bring you right back into the world. Let us begin! And let us be clear that there are….
Half a year after the events of REBEL OF THE SANDS Amani is still with the Rebellion, who are claiming authority over half of the desert and taking advantage of the Sultan’s war with other countries to gain influence in the desert.
While on a mission Amani encounters someone she never expected to find out in the desert: Her aunt Safiyah. She rescues her from prison and returns her to the rebel camp.
When the Rebel camp is attacked Amani covers for everyone else’s escape using her powers, and winds up getting out with only a handful of stragglers, including Jin and her aunt. Jin and Amani argue, then makeout then argue some more. And when Amani storms out of the safety of her tent to continue the argument she is drugged and knocked out. She wakes up on a ship, discovering that she has been captured by her aunt who knows she is a Demdji and intends to sell her to the Sultan.
Amani discovers in the palace that her childhood friend Tamid, who she left for dead at the beginning of REBEL OF THE SANDS is not only not dead, he is working for the Sultan. And he has helped by implanting iron under her skin to control her and impede her powers.
Amani is forced by the Sultan to use her Demdji truth telling abilities to summon a Djinni, her father. When she comes face to face with him for the first time the Sultan threatens Amani’s life for his cooperation. But Bahadur is left apathetic to his daughter’s fate.
In the end the Sultan leaves her alive, locking Amani into the Harem. There she meets Leyla, one of the Sultan’s many daughters, and her only ally in this kingdom of scheming and backstabbing women. In the harem she discovers that the Sultima, the most valued wife of Prince Kadir, heir to the throne, seems to have a way to get things in and out of the palace.
Amani tracks this mysterious girl down only to discover that she is none other than Shira, Amani’s cousin, who was abducted from Dustwalk when Amani escaped.
Amani blackmails Shira into helping her when she discovers the child she is pregnant with was not actually fathered by Kadir.
Shira introduces Amani to Sam, who can walk through walls, and who Shira has been using as her link to the outside world. Amani gives him a message to take to Shazad for her, to let the rebellion know where she is.
Shazad, on receiving the message, arrives for an audience with the Sultan in her capacity as a daughter of one of his generals. The rebels create a distraction with the intention of rescuing Amani but she cannot leave the palace so long as the metal is still under her skin controlling her.
She agrees in the meantime that she will spy for the rebellion. But in order to do so she needs to get out of the Harem. She makes this demand to the Sultan who makes a bargain with her. He’ll give her free range of the palace if she can accomplish the same task he sets all his sons when they become men: To shoot a duck from the sky.
Amani accomplishes it and gains free range of the palace through this, as well as access to the Sultan’s negotiations with the enemy armies, as his personal lie detector. At these negotiations she takes note of Rahim, one of the Sultan’s more militarily inclined sons.
Over dinner with the Sultan Amani begins to realize how little she knows about what it takes to run a country in the middle of a war, and begins to doubt that Ahmed would be capable of being the ruler that their country needs.
Amani realizes the rebellion has no chance against the Sultan so long as he has a Djinni under his control. She sneaks into the secret chamber where her father is being held captive and asks how to free him. He tells she would need to destroy the metal summoning circle that binds him here.
Amani is caught but manages to play it off as wanting to speak to her father. Nevertheless she is assigned a guard to keep an eye on her. That guard is Rahim, the prince she had previously made note of and who is Leyla’s brother. To her surprise Rahim reveals he knows she is with the rebellion and wants to support his rebel brother’s cause. He can even provide them with an army. For a price. Freeing his sister, Leyla, from the harem.
Shira goes into labor, and to, everyone’s shock, she gives birth to a Demdji like Amani. Shira is imprisoned, and the Sultan forces Amani to summon the baby’s father, another Djinni. Unlike Amani’s father, he cedes to the threat to his child and surrenders the names of all the other Djinn to the Sultan.
Meanwhile the Rebellion, working in secret, succeed in smuggling out Shira’s baby. Though they cannot save her. She goes to her execution, but not quietly and manages to whip the city into a riot.
Amani uses this as cover to confront Tamid, and promising she will help him escape, along with Leyla, gets him to agree to remove some of the metal from her skin so that she is no longer bound to the Sultan’s orders.
Using a party at the palace for cover the rebellion puts their plan into action to free the captured Djinn so the Sultan cannot use them against them, and to free Amani and the others.
However, before the Rebellion can free the Djinn, they witness one of them killed by a machine that turns their eternal life force into electricity to power a machine army which the Sultan has built. And which he turns on his enemies, turning the party to chaos.
Amani and Jin manage to escape together. As does almost everyone else, except for Rahim.
The rebels meet with the man that Rahim promised them could give them an army, Lord Bilal. Bilal says he will trade them the support of his army for one thing: A Demdji wife, the only thing he believe can save him from his incurable disease, based on an age old legend.
Amani suggest that instead of agreeing to this, the rebellion rescue Rahim, who she believes Bilal’s army will follow, regardless of what Bilal says.
They succeed in rescuing Rahim as the Sultan moves him from the palace to a real prison. But when they return to the rebel hideout in the city, they find the Sultan has prepared an ambush for them. And that Leyla, playing the part of poor innocent princess, was complicit in leading her father to them.
Most of the rebellion is captured, only a few escaping, including Amani and Jin. They learn that Ahmed is to be executed. Amani rushes to save him but is just in time to see the axe falls.
However, as the remaining rebels regroup Amani reveals the truth of what she saw. That the executed person was not Ahmed, but Imin, their shapeshifting Demdji.
Amani assumes control of what is left of the rebellion, decreeing that they will save Ahmed and the rest of the rebellion, making the country believe that their rebel prince has been resurrected, and making him into a larger than life legend they will be inspired to follow.
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