Mythopoeic Fantasy Award 2002, World Fantasy Award nominee 2002, Hugo Award nominee 2002.
In a dazzling display of invention and storytelling, the incomparable Lois McMaster Bujold offers us the razor-keen edge of a very different sword...
THE CURSE OF CHALION
On the eve of the Daughter's Day – the grand celebration that will honor the Lady of Spring, one of the five reigning deities – a man broken in body and spirit makes his way slowly down the road to Valenda. A former courtier and soldier, Cazaril has survived indignity and horrific torture as a slave aboard an enemy galley. Now he seeks nothing more than a menial job in the kitchens of the Dowager Provincara, in the noble household where he served as page in his youth.
But the gods have greater plans for this humbled man. Welcomed warmly, clothed and fed, he is named, to his great surprise, secretary-tutor to the Royesse Iselle – the beautiful, strong-willed sister of the impetuous boy who is destined to be the next ruler of the land. But the assignment must ultimately carry Cazaril to the one place he fears even more than the sea: to the royal court of Cardegoss, rife with intrigues and lethal treacheries.
In Cardegoss, the powerful enemies who once placed Cazaril in chains and bound him to a Roknari oar now occupy the most lofty positions in the realm, beneath only the Roya himself. Yet something far more sinister than their scheming hangs like a sword over the royal family: a curse of the blood that taints not only those who would rule, but those who stand in their circle. The life and future of both Iselle and her entire blighted House of Chalion lie in dire peril. The only recourse left to her loyal, damaged servant is the employment of the darkest and most forbidden of magics – a choice that will indelibly mark Cazaril as a tool of the miraculous... and trap him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death for as long as he dares walk the fivefold pathway of the gods.
"Fresh, intriguing, and as always from Lois McMaster Bujold, superb." – Robert Jordan
Lois McMaster Bujold (born 1949) is an American speculative fiction writer. She is one of the most acclaimed writers in her field, having won the Hugo Award for best novel four times, matching Robert A. Heinlein's record, not counting his Retro Hugo. Her novella "The Mountains of Mourning" won both the Hugo Award and Nebula Award. In the fantasy genre, The Curse of Chalion won the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature and was nominated for the 2002 World Fantasy Award for best novel, and both her fourth Hugo Award and second Nebula Award were for Paladin of Souls. In 2011 she was awarded the Skylark Award. In 2013 she was awarded the Forry Award. In 2017 she won a Hugo Award for Best Series, for the Vorkosigan Saga.
The bulk of Bujold's works comprises three separate book series: the Vorkosigan Saga, the Chalion Series, and the Sharing Knife series.
Written by Robin Lythgoe (2015-08-26)
This was an easy story for me to be drawn into, character-driven — and how! Lupe dy Cazaril is not your typical fantasy hero. He is a man damaged, betrayed, and afraid. This, of course, begs the question: How on earth is he going to accomplish his heroics? The use of demons and gods is complex and intriguing, providing a unique religious presence that — while a significant aspect of the story — is not "preachy." Bujold handled it neatly, showing the entirely human tendency to wander ... (more)