Dark Empress, the third volume in the Tales of the Empire series is yet another exciting, engaging, entertaining entry from S.J.A. Turney. The story revolves around two brothers, Samir and Ghassan and their childhood friend Asima. A strong bond develops between the three but they soon find themselves torn apart after their home town is invaded and conquered by a sinister Pelasian satrap. How they diverge in their pursuits and the methods they use to try and reach their goals makes for three tense filled story lines. The author does a masterful job in character development and treats the reader to some fascinating scenarios that can only play out within the framework of their individual mindsets. Cunning, deviousness and sometimes downright nastiness fills the pages as the story unfolds to a breath taking finale. Retribution, revenge and redemption are the watchwords in this wonderful tale. I believe this is the best of the three Tales of the Empire and serves as a stepping stone to Mr. Turney’s later works especially his Ottoman Cycle. I heartily recommend this book and give it 5 stars.