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The bargain she strikes with a brutal slave master awakens her power, but leads her to an uncanny world with a mind of its own. Can she find his son, or must she suffer the consequences of failing him? Will she learn the truth about her mother along the way?

This is the story of Chemchi, a Berber girl in Marrakech, and her fight against brutality, ignorance, and a magical, dark underworld that would enslave her.

"What was it that she, herself, wanted - needed - to look for now, at this precise moment? Something tugged at her. How could you look for something without knowing what it is? I'll know it when I see it, she sometimes told herself, about clothes for herself, or a gift for someone else. Everything that was lost was somewhere, knowing itself in a corner of the universe. Everything could be known. It was somewhere close but out of reach at present. She needed to go back to Cracked Marrakech. For the last time, she hoped. To see the crone. To talk to the bug in reality."

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