The Waterless Sea, by Kate Constable

Calwyn and her friends patrol the seas near their island home, making them safe from pirates. One of those they rescue, Heben, has come in search of them, hoping they can help free the children trapped in a palace in Merithuros.

In Mertithros, Calwyn, Mica and Halasaa cross a barren desert to the Palace of Cobwebs, the home of the Emperor. But there they encounter great danger. The sorceror Amagis is plotting to overthrow the Empire and the three must combine their magic and their skill to rescue the five children they find whose job it is to hold the palace together, and escape alive.

Then they must undertake an even more dangerous quest – to Hathara and the Black Palace, home of the Iron Workers.

Meanwhile their friend Darrow is also in Hathara, marching on the palace with rebels intent on overthrowing the empire. Can Calwyn and her friends still trust him?

The Waterless Sea is a satisfying sequel to The Singer of All Songs. Favourite characters are further developed and faced with new and intriguing obstacles. A captivating read.

The Waterless Sea, by Kate Constable
Allen & Unwin, 2003