Javan Najafai, crown prince of Akram, has spent the last decade at boarding school, far from his kingdom. But his eagerly awaited return home is cut short when a mysterious impostor takes his place - and no one believes Javan is the true prince.
After barely escaping the impostor's assassins, Javan is thrown into Maqbara, Akram's most dangerous prison. The only way to gain an audience with the king - and reveal Javan's identity - is to fight in Maqbara's twice-yearly tournament. But winning is much harder than acing competitions at school, and soon Javan finds himself beset not just by the arena's terrifying creatures but also by a band of prisoners allied against him, and even by the warden herself.
The only person who can help him is Sajda, who has been enslaved by Maqbara's warden since she was a child, and whose guarded demeanor and powerful right hook keep the prisoners in check. Working with Sajda might be the only way Javan can escape alive - but she has dangerous secrets.
Together, Javan and Sajda have to outwit the vicious warden, outfight deadly creatures, and outlast the murderous prisoners intent on killing Javan. If they fail, they'll be trapped in Maqbara for good - and the secret Sajda's been hiding will bury them both.
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