I read this around 2006/2007. I had the book on loan from a friend that I since lost contact with. I would like to re-read the novel (and any sequels) so I hope this rings a bell for someone.

The setting is Istanbul/Constantinople and surrounding area in an alternative reality with a eastern medieval flavor (although there are some unusual twists, see below).

  1. The City is a powerful city-state that has influence over a large area.

  2. The City (I'm sure it has a different name in the story) is protected from the nomadic barbarian tribes (Mongol/Hun like) by a magical protective wall that keeps foreign magic and spirits out.

  3. The lake (Bosporus/Sea of Marmara) next to the city is the source of powerful magic/spirits and some of the Gods live in/under the lake too.

  4. There are a number of intertwined story-lines, but I can't remember much detail. One main character is a shaman/sorcerer of the nomadic tribes that is possessed by evil spirits that have designs on the City.

  5. There is group of nobles from a nation in the north (identifiable as the Crimea) that are scheming to attack the City.

  6. The City's army needs to go an a campaign to deal with attacks on the outlying farming villages along the shores of the lake. The novel follows (among others) one of the army commanders.

Some notable details I can remember:

  • The God of War is actually a Goddess, which is somewhat unusual.

  • The society in the City is completely equal opportunity for men and women. E.g. men work in childcare and many soldiers are women.

  • When characters are first introduced in the story it sometimes takes a few pages before you realize whether the character is a man or a woman.

  • Homosexuality is completely accepted and common place. E.g. The army commander I mentioned above is married to another man.

  • Book was a fairly thick paper-back (guessing 400-500 pages) with a striking cover in predominantly purple background with a female figure (I think the Goddess of War I mentioned) in dark purple and grey in the foreground. She holds 2 slender swords, one raised high in salute and the other pointing down. She has glowing eyes.

People in the City are not yet aware that the problems with the nomadic tribes and the attacks on the villages are all part of a bigger scheme. The novel ends without resolving many story-lines. I presume it is the first novel in a series.

  • 1
    Good description, hope that we find the answer to this one as I would really like to read this book as well :)
    – Alith
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 8:25
  • @Alith: Just letting you know, he found the answer.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 19:25
  • @FuzzyBoots - thanks for the note, now to read it myself
    – Alith
    Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 10:16

1 Answer 1


Through sheer luck I found the answer myself last Saturday.
Made a weekend trip to London for the Last Night of the Proms and browsed the shelves at Barnes & Noble in the afternoon. The, very recognizable, cover of the book jumped out to me.

It is The Silver Lake, 1st volume of the "Warriors of Estavia" trilogy by Fiona Patton.

Book Cover - The Silver Lake

In Anavatan, the city of the Silver Lake, the gods manifest on a regular basis. But if you are among the unpledged, it is hard to survive, especially during the three-night-long chaos known as Havo's Dance. When Havo's storms sweep through Anavatan, anyone who is unaffiliated had best find a safe place to hide or they risk madness or death. But this year, three young street orphans have been chosen for special attention by Incasa, the god of prophecy.When that God's dice roll during the height of Havo's Dance, these three boys-thieves and con artists-will discover their destinies. One will be bound by a life-or-death pledge that will see him marked as the future Champion of the War God, another forced to walk a perilous road as he seeks to master his talent as a seer, and the last will be cast forth from the city and claimed by the hungry spirits seeking a way into Anavatan and the precious power contained in the Silver Lake.

  • :) Since you're certain it's the right one, and there's been sufficient time since you posted the question, don't forget to accept your own answer. I don't know that you'll get your bounty back, but it will mark this question as having an answer.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 15:54
  • @FuzzyBoots No idea what it will do to the bounty. Thank you for the edit with picture and back-cover text. I was going to do that myself (I bought the book by the way) but I posted from work this afternoon and didn't have the book with me at the time.
    – Tonny
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 19:18
  • @FuzzyBoots According to the faq I can't award the bounty to my own answer. It doesn't mention what the auto-award will do in this case.
    – Tonny
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 19:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.