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Kushiel's Dart [Mass Market Paperback]

Jacqueline Carey
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 15 2002 Kushiel's Legacy (Book 1)
The land of Terre d'Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good...and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.

Phèdre nó Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission...and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel's Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one.

Phèdre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber, but, above all, the ability 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; love and honor goad her further. And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair...and beyond. Hateful friend, loving enemy, beloved assassin; they can all wear the same glittering mask in this world, and Phèdre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear.

Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. 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.

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From Publishers Weekly

HThis 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 PhŠdre 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 PhŠdre: Naamah, for sensual love; and Kushiel, for sado-masochistic pain, his "dart" being a blood spot in PhŠdre's eye. Not everyone will go for PhŠdre's graphic if elegantly described sexual encounters, which usually involve the infliction of pain, whether from lashing, branding or even cutting. PhŠdre, 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 PhŠdre'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. (June 4)Forecast: With blurbs from Delia Sherman and Storm Constantine, plus major print advertising both genre and mainstream, this first novel could rack up impressive sales.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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

From Library Journal

Trained from childhood to a life of servitude and espionage, Ph?dre n? Delaunay serves her master, Anafiel, as a courtesan and spy, ferreting out the dangerous secrets of the noble houses of Terre d'Ange. When she uncovers a treasonous conspiracy, however, her life takes on a new and deadly purpose. Set in a world reminiscent of late medieval and early Renaissance Europe, Carey's first novel portrays a society based upon political and sexual intrigue. The author's sensual prose, suitable for adult readers, should appeal to fans of Tanith Lee, Storm Constantine, and Terry Goodkind. Recommended for adult fantasy collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Lest anyone should suppose that I am a cuckoo's child, got on the wrong side of the blanket by lusty peasant stock and sold into indenture in a shortfallen season, I may say that I am House-born and reared in the Night Court proper, for all the good it did me. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book. May 9 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I continue to read this book over and over. I love everything about it. I love the characters, the setting and the religious elements. I enjoy alternative reality constructs, and Jacqueline Carey provides us with one of the best. Very satisfying escapist reading. What house would you serve?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pierced by Fate June 19 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The literature of SM seems have started with poetry: the exquisite, transformative agony of one-sided love as described in "courtly love" sonnets, a French tradition said to have started as early as 1000 AD, and in religious poetry about the suffering and devotion of saints. Then there was the savagely satirical fiction written by the Marquis de Sade on the eve of the French Revolution. The classic novel of female domination, Venus in Furs, appeared in the nineteenth century, and its author, Sacher-Masoch, suffered more than he wished for when he came to be associated with the newly-diagnosed psychological "illness" which was named after him; he had hoped to be remembered for his literary skill. The Story of O, a Frenchwoman's tribute to her lover, appeared under a pen name in 1954, and was widely believed to be the work of a male chauvinist. Before the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s, these were the classic texts of "perversion."

Times have changed. Literature on specialized sexual tastes which were formerly veiled in metaphors and Latin words is now clear, thorough, often written as non-fiction, and easily available on websites. Although certain writers of SM fiction have carried on the literary traditions of their predecessors, the current classic texts are how-to manuals that are often recommended for beginners. As useful as this material is, it leaves out the poetry of the earlier works. Some concepts still seem better-expressed in the form of teaching stories.

Kushiel's Dart is a big (700-page) novel that refers to an older French literary tradition while reconstructing French history. In this setting, an attraction to pain is a spiritual gift from a dark angel, Kushiel (the Punisher of God), who presides over a rocky coastal region in the area of real-life Normandy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is steel wrapped in velvet Jan. 18 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What captured me most about this series was how the writing style complemented the world and themes explored. Carey writes with a velvety richness that, in another setting, might seem overly flambuoyant as much "high fantasy" tends to. In the land of Terre D'Ange, however, richness, luxury, and beauty are the rule of the day, and Carey's writing communicates that to the reader in style as well as words. I was also gratified to find a fantasy novel where women take the day not only as herions or villians, but in both capacities and with equal realism and power. Unlike some reviewers, I found the masochism of the story to be thematically valid in its explicitness. This is a story about the barest, rawest forms of human expression (emotionally, sexually, and spiritually), and as such it makes sense to present vulnerability and strength in such explicit juxtaposition. Perhaps I am D'Angeline at heart, but overall, I love this book for its beauty.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book captured my full attention from the get-go years ago and I went on and read the entire series. It was worth every minute. It took me to a completely different world, full of erotics, fantasies, and heart breaks. If you are ready to immerse yourself into a world of raw erotic sex, pleasure, but also indescribable agony and pain, hang on tight to an amazing journey. Full of intrigues and surprising turns, this series is still my all time favourite!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fresh and Original Epic Fantasy June 2 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read many novels where the main character has been god touched, and uses his or her skills as an emissary of the gods to help save the lives of others but never in this way. Kushiel's Dart a novel by fantasy newcomer Jacquline Carey is a unique story. I can seriously say I have never seen anything quite like it before. It tells the story of, Phedre, a girl born with an ill luck name and a scarlet mote in her left eye. Considered to be cursed, she is sold in indentured servitude into the Night Court where she hopes one day to become a servant of Naamah, the goddess of sexual pleasure. Her life is changed forever when she is taken in by Anafiel no Delauny, a courtesan and spy. He sees her for what she really is, an anguissette, a child touched by the God of punishment Kusheil. This means that she is forced forever to feel pleasure and pain as one. As she begins to train for Naamah's service it is Delauny who teaches her the skills she will need to know to survive. He teachers her languages, history, and how to listen and pay attention in a world of dangerous politics.
There are so many good things to be said about this novel and I cannot possibly list them all here. One of the most attractive things about this book, in my opinion, is the elegant prose it is written in. Certainly not for everyone, Ms. Carey writes in a very descriptive manner filled with beautiful picture of the D'Angeline world. Although some would consider this to be too drawn out and lengthy is fits the character, a strong woman who is taught to listen and pay attention to every detail, perfectly. Another strong point would have to be the instantly likeable characters. Phedre for all of her strengths is a wonderfully flawed character.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent read full of imagination
This book blew me out of the water. It is well written, full of rich imagery and description that often borders on the poetic. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2011 by Nathalie Wigmore
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite
Ignore the previous review of one star this is one of the best books you will ever read! The first chapter does go a bit slow but it lays the groundwork for the novel introducing... Read more
Published on Sept. 13 2007 by Teri I. Riggins
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
this book about about a girl who was born with the mark of a god on her and the story basically follows her life and the trouble she faces because of this mark. Read more
Published on Dec 4 2006 by elfdart
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of fun
While this book might not be for everyone due to the BDSM eroticism, it is superbly written. The geography and cultures consist of both fantasy and historical elements blended... Read more
Published on Nov. 6 2004 by Lara
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
Simply a wonderful, refreshing read. It took patience to stick with at first since the world of politics is always an entangled one but, it is so important to understanding the... Read more
Published on Aug. 17 2004 by Lynn Holtz
4.0 out of 5 stars Awsome book, just slightly flawed.
This was truly a great book. However, I have specific reasons for giving it four stars instead of five. Read more
Published on July 19 2004 by "fierceladykay"
1.0 out of 5 stars I absolutely despise this book.
I picked up this book because the characters and plot sounded incredibly interesting, and because I had been recommended it since I like Anne Bishop's work. Read more
Published on July 11 2004 by Seana Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious and Complex
This ambitious novel blends the erotic and sadomasochistic with a tale of political intrigue and for the most part handles all three well. Read more
Published on July 1 2004 by Chris O'Malley
5.0 out of 5 stars Disliked at first, grew to love it.
I did not know much about the book before I began reading it, and at first I was annoyed about the political details within the story. I wanted more erotica! Read more
Published on June 29 2004 by Stephanie
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