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This extraordinary novel will be loved by fans of George R. R. Martin and Sylvia Day alike - an intoxicating fantasy of intrigue, betrayal and desire.
Phèdre nó Delaunay has a turbulent path before her, one that will touch the life of queens and princes - and change the course of her land, but this all lies ahead...
After a childhood of indentured servitude, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with a very particular mission. He's also the first to recognize who and what she is: one touched by the god Kushiel's dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one.Phèdre is trained equally in history, politics and the courtly arts - but she's also eventually taught the arts of pleasure, And above all, she learns how to observe, remember and analyze.
Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phèdre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland. Treachery sets her on her path, then love and honour goad her further. Her journey will take her to the edge of despair and beyond, as false friend, loving enemy and beloved assassin can all wear the same glittering mask. Navigating a world of deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, Phèdre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear.
Kushiel's Dart won the Locus Award for Best First Novel in 2002. It also won the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best Fantasy.
This brilliant and daring debut, set in a skewed Renaissance world (people worship Jesus-like "Blessed Elua" but also demigods), catapults Carey immediately into the top rank of fantasy novelists. In the character of Ph dre n Delaunay, "a whore's unwanted get" sold into indentured servitude in opulent Night Court, the author has created a particularly strong and memorable female lead, and has surrounded her with a large and varied cast, from nobles and priests to soldiers and peasants. An engrossing plot focuses first on court intrigue and treachery, then, in a surprising shift, on high adventure, travel in barbarian lands including Alba (England) and war. Two demigods rule Ph dre: Naamah, for sensual love; and Kushiel, for sado-masochistic pain, his "dart" being a blood spot in Ph dre's eye. Not everyone will go for Ph dre's graphic if elegantly described sexual encounters, which usually involve the infliction of pain, whether from lashing, branding or even cutting. Ph dre, however, is no clich d sexpot but a complex character motivated by religious zeal. In one amusing scene, a group of sailors on the march chants: "Whip us till we're on the floor, we'll turn around and ask for more, we're Ph dre's Boys!" At the end, the heroine reminds one of an equally strong-minded sister whose home was Tara. No mere feminist novel, this is an assured and magnificent book that will appeal to both male and female readers.