Empire in Black and Gold is the first novel in Adrian Tchaikovsky's critically acclaimed fantasy series, The Shadows of the Apt.The days of peace are over . . .The city states of the Lowlands have lived in peace and prosperity for decades: bastions of civilization and sophistication. That peace is about to end.In far-off corners, an ancient Empire has been conquering city after city with its highly trained armies and sophisticated warmaking . . . And now it's set its sights on a new prize. Only the ageing Stenwold Maker, spymaster, artificer and statesman, can see the threat. It falls upon his shoulders to open the eyes of his people - as soon a tide will sweep down over the Lowlands and burn away everything in its path.But first he must stop himself from becoming the Empire's latest victim.Empire in Black and Gold is followed by the second book in the Shadows of the Apt series, Dragonfly Falling.