Ausma Zehanat Khan is the author of The Unquiet Dead, published by St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books, and winner of the Barry Award, the Arthur Ellis Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel. Her widely acclaimed second novel, The Language of Secrets, was published in 2016. Among the Ruins, her third mystery was published in February 2017. She is also at work on a fantasy series, to be published by Harper Voyager, beginning October 2017. The Bloodprint is Book One of the Khorasan Archives.
A frequent lecturer and commentator, Ms. Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a research specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. Ms. Khan completed her LL.B. and LL.M. at the University of Ottawa, and her B.A. in English Literature & Sociology at the University of Toronto.
Formerly, she served as Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl magazine. The first magazine to address a target audience of young Muslim women, Muslim Girl re-shaped the conversation about Muslim women in North America. The magazine was the subject of two documentaries, and hundreds of national and international profiles and interviews, including CNN International, Current TV, and Al Jazeera “Everywoman”.
Ms. Khan practiced immigration law in Toronto and has taught international human rights law at Northwestern University, as well as human rights and business law at York University. She is a long-time community activist and writer, and currently lives in Colorado with her husband.
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Did the Bloodprint represent deliverance or deception?
only three among them who would be able to read it, even if by some fortuitous working
of fate, Arian was able to find it. Herself, Ash, and Ilea.
would the Black Khan help them? Solely for the sake of the Sacred Cloak?
She raised her eyes to his
“You do not
seek the Bloodprint for yourself, Excellency? You were the one who thought
eyes called him. And liar, as well.
pretended to soften. “Rukh, then. You said you have proof of the Bloodprint.
Are you able to read the Claim? Is it true you were schooled in the High
A glimmer of
amusement in his eyes suggested he fully understood the things she hadn’t expressed,
her private dismissal of his character.
“I’m not as
fluent as the Companions of Hira.” He made a small bow to Ilea. “But neither am
thought. He wouldn’t be. And he’d evaded the more important question. She
returned to it.
“You do not
expect to retain the Bloodprint, if I am able to retrieve it?”
“If you are
able to retrieve it, all of Khorasan will be at your feet.”
“That is not
why I pursue it.”
important to her that she convince him of this, though she couldn’t have said
narrowed, as if he’d grown tired of her.
who does not seek power, perhaps because she wields it so wholly.” There was a
caustic note in his voice. “The Bloodprint doesn’t matter to me. I have taken
the Cloak as payment, it will serve me well enough.”
challenged her to deny him.
“It isn’t a
prize to be bartered.” She turned to Ilea, prepared to risk the High
Companion’s wrath. “And the Cloak isn’t yours to cede. It belongs at Hira. We
are its rightful guardians.”
An indefinable expression
crossed Ilea’s face.
“It was the price I paid for
the Black Khan’s counsel. A counsel we desperately need.” There was a bitter
edge to her voice. “You’ve been away too long, in pursuit of your misguided
quest. I’ve had other priorities at Hira.” She made an impatient gesture with
her hand. “Either accept your Audacy, or refuse it. I will not countenance
Why not? And then
realization struck Arian. For all of her discouragement of Arian’s efforts with
the slave-chains, Ilea had expected
Arian to bring the Cloak to Hira. How else could she have known to make her
bargain with Rukh?
She had known Arian would seek it. And she had meant to trade it away.
swamped by a feeling of grief. How had she and Ilea come to this point?
“Why do you
look so betrayed? You chose to pursue the Cloak for your own ends. I understood
it would serve a larger purpose.”
purpose?” Arian whispered.
“The defence of Hira. The defence your actions
actions?” Arian echoed the words without understanding their meaning.
response was cruel. She had found a way to strike back.
“Yes, your actions. Your unceasing war against the slave-chains has put
the Citadel at risk. The One-Eyed Preacher brings his war to Hira. And when he
comes, the Citadel will fall.”
blanched at the words. Was the High Companion right? Had she brought
destruction to the Citadel? When everything she treasured was at Hira?
said, grief in her voice. “That cannot be true.”
Khan murmured something to Ilea, and the waters of the All Ways resumed their
careful dance. Ilea crossed her arms, pressing both hands to her circlets. She
waited impatiently for Arian to mimic the gesture.
“This is not an Audacy to
undertake only as it suits you. Our very survival is at stake—the lives of the
Companions, the sanctity of the scriptorium, the Citadel itself. Will you
accept this Audacy? Or does your courage forsake you at the outset of the war?”
isn’t the outset.
been waging this war for a decade.
At too great a cost, she now
realized. But Arian accepted the Audacy’s rites. The time for dissent had
passed. She had no choice but to seek out the Bloodprint.
Or face the end of the