The Burning City is a fantasy novel by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle set in the same prehistoric world as The Magic Goes Away. The novel is set in Southern California about 14,000 years before the present. Magic and gods exist in the world, but depend on a natural resource called mana, which is almost exhausted. The book was published in 2000, and was followed by a sequel, Burning Tower in 2005.
The first and last parts of the novel are set in Tep's Town, on the site of modern Los Angeles. The town consists of three classes: the Lords, the ruling class, who live in a separate area of the town; the kinless, the workers; and the Lordkin, organised into street gangs, who live by stealing from the kinless. The Lords supervise the kinless and tolerate the Lordkin. The kinless are unarmed and untrained in the use of weapons, and cannot resist the Lordkin. Some leave the town, but the surrounding vegetation is malevolent. The town is the base of a fire god, Yangin-Atep, who possesses the Lordkin every few years to burn the town down and rape any kinless woman they can catch.
The main character, Whandall, is a Lordkin who is crippled from a beating in his youth but gradually regains his health. He teams up with an ex-Atlantis wizard and some kinless and they escape from the city. Beyond the city they find traders and Whandall founds a successful trading empire. Eventually, he returns to the city to establish a trade route there, and defeats Yangin-Atep.
Perhaps surprisingly for a novel which claims to portray a world which became our present, the society has domesticated horses and cats, and the wheel is in widespread use. Humans did settle the area by the time the novel is set, and there were horses similar to modern horses in North America earlier, so it is possible that these horses were domesticated but later died out without leaving any trace. There were no modern cats, but perhaps there were similar felines which could have been domesticated. For the actual domestication of cats, see Cat#Ancient Egypt and for horses, see Domestication of the horse. The disappearance of so useful a technology as the wheel is more difficult to explain.
In the epilogue the authors do make a handwaving attempt at an explanation. There they claim that the savage people who became the "so-called Native Americans" wiped out the existing civilization, including horses (and presumably cats and wheels) in their conquest of the Americas.
According to the afterword published with the book, Larry Niven originally developed the story in order to channel his feelings of frustration relating to the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
In keeping with the spirit of the allegory Niven and Pournelle drop into the text several anagrams and other oblique references that bring to mind modern people, places and events. Some examples: