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Curse Of Chalion Mass Market Paperback – Sep 12 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First THUS edition (Sept. 12 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380818604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380818600
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.6 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #428,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Iselle, the royesse (princess) of Chalion, and her lady-in-waiting, Bertriz, need a new tutor. Cazaril, the man chosen for the job, has been scarred, physically and mentally, from secret betrayals by the very people who now rule Chalion through Iselle's uncle, and who seek to control her younger brother, the heir, as well. To rescue the royesse, and save Chalion, Cazaril must play matchmaker between Iselle and the prince of another realm, fight off assassins, lift a century-old curse, and risk everything-learning not to run from his own love for Bertriz-along the way. Bujold weaves a convincing and captivating fantasy world, well researched, with magic that works and gods that live without destroying the balance of this medieval society. Cazaril's life is rich with detail, and plays a part in the conclusion. The villains are believably motivated. The young heroines are deeply sympathetic characters as well. Readers will find themselves rooting for the good guys, while still uncertain that all can end without at least one of them suffering a dire fate. A finely balanced mixture of adventure, swordplay, court intrigue, romance, magic, and religion makes this book a delightful read.

Paul Brink, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Betrayed by an unknown enemy into slavery, former soldier and courtier Lupe dy Cazaril escapes his bondage and returns to the royal household he once served. Entrusted with the teaching of the sister to the heir to the throne of Chalion, Cazaril finds himself drawn into a tangled web of politics and dark magic as he battles a curse that threatens the lives and souls of a family he has come to love. The author of the "Vorkosigan" series of dynastic sf turns her hand as competently and engagingly to the fantasy genre in a tale of quiet heroism and self-sacrifice. Compelling characters and richly detailed world building make this a strong addition to fantasy collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Famous for her science fiction, Lois McMaster Bujold is an underrated fantasy author. If "Curse of Chalion" is anything to judge by, that won't stay that way for long.
Curse of Chalion (and its sequel, Paladin of Souls) is, at its heart, a book about faith, something rare in the fantasy genre. Bujold shows us glimpses of a rich and original theology that seems compellingly real and even inviting.
The main character in Curse of Chalion isn't an untried but promising youth or a competent veteran; he is a tired, traumatized man who lost everything - title, land, friends and self-esteem - when he was betrayed and sold into slavery. He has long since lost his defiance or his thirst for vengeance, and now just wants a home where he won't get yelled at much. From these (quite literally) humble beginnings he begins to piece together his life again - only to find the people he has begun to love threatened by the man who sold him to the enemy. Good with a sword, he is nevertheless not a Conan or Arthur who can solve problems by cutting his way through them. He has to rely on his wits, only to find enemies at every turn. In desperation, he makes the ultimate sacrifice...and finds that his work - and his healing - has only just begun.
Bujold's writing is evocative, her world original and well-thought out, and her characters deep and human while remaining sympathetic to the reader. Unlike other authors who delve into "realistic fantasy" by making it dark and gritty, Bujold manages to wrest a happy ending for her main characters without making the book saccharine or resorting to Deus Ex Machina. This is a must-read for fantasy lovers!
This is one of the best fantasy novels I've ever read, not something I'm prone to saying.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I got this book yesterday; finished it today. I couldn't put it down. It's a truly excellent fantasy story, complete in one book, and a welcome change from the tired epic fantasy format that so often turns out to be a variant on the Series that Does Not End. Unlike writers such as Martin or Jordan, Bujold constructs characters that feel like actual people instead of artificial bundles of traits stapled together for dramatic effect--for those Martin fans out there, for example, Iselle is what the character of Sansa should be and probably actually would be in real life, as opposed to the way Martin is portraying her: someone who has known from birth what her fate and marriage will be like and who has been trained to occupy the political role she will someday fill. Bujold's characters feel *four*-dimensional, they're so well rounded; Cazaril, the Provincara, Lady Ista, Teidez, Iselle and Betriz all feel like actual people. Michelle West is the only fantasy author I've seen come close to her skill in characterization. Bujold's world-building is excellent too; I could actually see the Provincara's household in my mind, and the way she slowly reveals Cazaril's history over the course of the book is extremely effective. Her cosmology is interesting and used to full effect to reinforce her narrative. I plan to get Paladin of Souls as soon as possible
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Those who have become addicted to the antics and wry humor of Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series will be somewhat surprised by this book, but not disappointed. As her second entry into the world of fantasy, she shows in this book the same talent, dedication to detail, and adherence to the strictures of good writing applicable to the chosen genre as she does in her science fiction works.
Typical of many fantasy works, the imagined world is one of a feudal society, with technology appropriate to the Middle Ages, and deals almost entirely with the trials and tribulations of its aristocracy. But odd sidelights are shown on the working class folks, as we learn the details Lupe dy Cazaril experiences. A minor lord who was betrayed into slavery, we open the book with Caz, now a physically broken man, penniless, walks back to the only place he can think of that might offer him at least some sort of job, the castle at Valenda. Fate here is a little kinder, as he is given the job of tutor to royesse Iselle, sister to the heir of Chalion, and her lady in waiting Betriz, a job well suited to his current physical condition, requiring only quick wits and getting his charges to respect him. But this post leads Caz into the deep waters of court intrigue when the two girls and the fourteen-year old heir are called to the royal court of Cardegoss.
For the first 150 pages, there is very little magic, nothing to separate this world from the mundane, except one instance of 'death magic', an item that is attempted only rarely, as, when successful, it invariably kills the practitioner as well as the desired target. But when Iselle is promised to Dondo, brother of the Lord Chancellor, whom she decidedly despises, Caz attempts this magic himself, as the only way he sees to protect her.
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I've never read any of Bujold's other work, but after _The Curse of Chalion_ I think I might. This is an absorbing, skillfully-woven tale of curses and consequences, told with succinct artistry in a single volume. (I gather more books set in this world are to come, but the story here is self-contained).
Having escaped the slavery that he was betrayed into, Cazaril returns home a broken man. He is appointed tutor to the spirited Royesse Iselle, whose fierce intelligence and infectious passion for life gives him back some of the joy he has lost, and a purpose - protecting her, whatever the cost to himself. Gradually, he becomes aware of a terrible curse afflicting the royal family, and determines to lift it.
The curse itself is a fascinating creation, one intimately bound up in the nature of the world Bujold has created. The gods are very much active forces, here, and consequences resonate through generations. Curse and story alike unfold in unexpected, occasionally shocking directions, resulting in a quite brilliant portrait of how desperation can warp even the strongest fidelity.
The characters are engaging and most are well-rounded, each bringing their own histories and secrets to the story, which unfold naturally with the narrative. Their pain - physical and emotional - is believable and affecting.
Even over 400 pages, the novel doesn't quite retain its momentum; the pacing is a little uneven and the ending a little unsatisfying (to me, at least). Nevertheless, this is a gripping and intriguing tale that I couldn't put down.
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