Dancer’s Lament is the first novel in the Path to Ascendancy trilogy by Ian C. Esslemont.
The walled city of Li Heng has been protected for years by the mysterious Protectress while the minor city states surrounding the city have warred with each other. It is strong, and secure, and protected by not just the powerful sorceress, but also by a cabal of five strong mages. But now there’s war looming, and chaos. And two young men are poised to take advantage of that chaos.