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In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an old law forces 16-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena against twelve suitors to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, losing is not an option because in order to fulfill her promise to her late mother, she must win to keep her crown and lead her people. The situation outside the palace is uneasy. The harsh desert is unforgiving, water is scarce, and Kateri's people are thirsty. To make matters worse, the gang of thieving Desert Boys, the same group that killed Kateri's mother and her new baby, frequently raids the city wells and steals water, forcing the king to ration what little water is left.