From publisher blurb:
The follow-on from the acclaimed The Spider God's Bride (Legend), the Song of the Beast-Gods contains another set of thrilling sword & sorcery adventures.
The land of Yar-Ammon is old, and even older are its gods. From the dawn of time, when bands of hunter-gatherers roamed the land, men and women shared a sacred bond with the beasts they hunted. The primal people bowed before colossal statues of wild beasts, and the priests of Yar-Ammon wore animal masks in imitation of their gods. Each beast had its own cult; each city its own idol.
In the city of Khadis, where the hyena was sacred, the Great Red Sphinx was placated every year with offerings of treasure and blood. The people heaped silver and gold at the feet of the sphinx and feasted on the intoxicating wines prepared by the priests. And then the drunken revelers fell upon the city’s criminals and prisoners of war and hurled them over the city walls to the hyena packs waiting below.
But things are different today. Before his death two and twenty years ago, the High King of Yar-Ammon instituted the worship of an (until then) unknown god, called the First One, and known variously as Zothur, Zoth-Ur, or Xoth-Ur. Taking the title of Kingpriest and Prophet of the First One, the king sent his new priests from Amenti to all the lesser cities of the land, and demanded that the old ways of beast-worship be abandoned.
The emissaries of the Kingpriest were not well received everywhere, but in Khadis, the petty king Akhtesh had recently lost his queen while she was giving birth to Nathifa, the second of the king’s daughters. Akhtesh meekly accepted the Kingpriest’s decrees, as announced by the sinister priests of Zothur: As a sign of his will to break with the old ways, Akhtesh was forced to exile the priests of the hyena-cult, deface the Great Red Sphinx, and sacrifice his oldest daughter, Nekhtra, who had been groomed to become high priestess of the hyena-cult since early childhood.
But the king’s chief steward, Hykshah, was a secret priest of the hyena-cult. He dressed up a slave-girl as Nekhtra and handed her over to suffer death at the hands of the priests of Zothur, while the real princess was taken into the desert and left in the care of a tribe of wild nomads.