A nation born of angels, vast and intricate and surrounded by danger... a woman born to servitude, unknowingly given access to the secrets of the realm...
Born with a scarlet mote in her left eye, Phédre nó Delaunay is sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics, foreign languages, the arts of pleasure. And above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Exquisite courtesan, talented spy... and unlikely heroine. But when Phédre stumbles upon a plot that threatens her homeland, Terre d'Ange, she has no choice.
Betrayed into captivity in the barbarous northland of Skaldia and accompanied only by a disdainful young warrior-priest, Phédre makes a harrowing escape and an even more harrowing journey to return to her people and deliver a warning of the impending invasion. And that proves only the first step in a quest that will take her to the edge of despair and beyond.
Phédre nó Delaunay is the woman who holds the keys to her realm's deadly secrets, and whose courage will decide the very future of her world.
Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel's Dart-a massive tale about the violent death of an old age and the birth of a new. It is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. A world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, deposed rulers and a besieged Queen, a warrior-priest, the Prince of Travelers, barbarian warlords, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess... all seen through the unflinching eyes of an unforgettable heroine.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
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.
I stumbled across this book when my mother owned her book store and I still have my original paperback that I picked up in 2002, which I have read [the whole trilogy] at least six times so far. My husband also enjoyed this trilogy along with the several friends I have recommended it to. It is obviously a matter of opinion on whether someone will enjoy the contents of this book or not, but for me, I enjoy the great writing about a plot blended with everything: adventure, politics, fighting and battles, gods and legends, different cultures, romance and love, and getting to see the best and worst of people. Truly this book has something for everyone.
Hard to read
I just had a hard time going on this adventure. The language is fancy and it often feels like the original draft was written more naturally and then re-written with thesaurus in hand to replace mundane words with the most unusual choice of adjectives. So much so that they served more as speed bumps to the flow of language rather than an indication of Phédre’s sophistication.
I didn’t care for the first-person perspective either. I get it, it’s her story, but I just feel third-person would have served better to immerse me into the story. The recounting of a moment and saying she will or will not go back to that in more detail didn’t create a, “what happened next,” feel for me. It makes it more of a story from someone who only wants to hear themselves talk.
I could also do without telling the reader how smart someone is, instead of showing us; complete turn off and it happens several times. Readers are not dumb and we do not need to be spoonfed a statement in place of an observation.
What did I like? I liked the descriptions of things, places, and events/actions. Often times they are very vivid even though the language may feel forced; I certainly didn’t feel confused about a picture in my mind’s eye.
I didn’t read a sample before buying this. Do yourself a favor and check it out. Obviously plenty of people LOVE the story just as it is.
Best Series EVER
Incredibly well-written, sensual and powerful. Not for the straight-laced, though.