Lhaurel is a young woman of the desert people, the Sidena, who take shelter on stone during the part of the year when the reptilian genesauri rampage on the sands. Lhaurel has always been a bit different — tall, thin, and red-haired — and the consciousness of her difference has given her a compassionate eye for the tribeless outcasts who also wander the desert, and whom the Sidena use and abuse.
On Lhaurel’s wedding day, her ideas about belonging and indeed her entire life are shattered. Earlier than they should, earlier than the Sidena thought possible, the genesauri burst into camp and scatter Lhaurel’s people.
Lhaurel is rescued — or is she taken prisoner? — by a warrior of another people, the Roterralar, who ride, to Lhaurel’s astonishment, immense birds. In the path to proving herself to her new people / captors, Lhaurel demonstrates persistence, cleverness, weapon skills… and a surprising magical talent.
Now, against the backdrop of ecological disruption and the suddenly changed habits of the desert monsters, war among the clans looms. Lhaurel is positioned to play a decisive role in the conflict… and maybe even head it off.
Sands is a YA adventure tale that is one part Dune, one part Dragonriders of Pern, and three parts fun.