Unlike Kingdoms of Dust, this is very firmly city-based (and ensemble-structured). We venture into the deep desert just long enough for a ghul-fight and to round off our band of protagonists (the young dervish, blinding death with a sword, not so good with spells or kissing girls; the orphaned Bedouin, also deathy, particularly after she turns into a spirit lion and starts ripping heads off). The bulk of the story is in town, with undead horrors against a backdrop of Tyrannous Khalif and Heroic Rebel politics. Our hero would much rather ignore all that and concentrate on the ghuls. The plot does not cooperate. It's pretty much pure fun, sprawling with vivid characters and a big, crowded, noisy, stinking, history-filled city. Big sequel-hook at the end, mind you.