And the Rivers Sang (Spring & Autumn) by T. E. Waters
Five brothers. One throne. And a humble boatman. The unexpected death of Prince Mukkuen’s eldest brother, the king of Sra, sends the entire country into tumult when Mukkuen’s vicious second brother kills the young heir and seizes the throne for himself. Mukkuen and third brother Pieh flee, fearing for their lives; youngest brother Khesjit stays behind, pretending to swear loyalty to the usurper. As the fourth son, Mukkuen has never been a particularly ambitious man, and soon resigns himself to a life of exile. Pieh, on the other hand, plots obsessively to return and overthrow their usurper brother. As their paths drift apart, Mukkuen sets off on a journey down the southern rivers together with a mysterious but captivating young boatman who opens his eyes to a world of magic and wonder… But these days of idle paradise cannot last. Pieh sets his plans into motion. Khesjit, too, makes his move. Mukkuen, torn between family, duty, and love, comes to realize that even the power of the rivers may not be enough to change his fate.