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Kushiel's Dart [Mass Market Paperback]

Jacqueline Carey
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 9.99
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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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Product Details

Product Description

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
6 of 6 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Sept. 13 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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 characters and helping you learn the world of D'Angelines which is not much like ours. After that it is such a fascinating read Phedre is the heroine of all heroines. Carey's writing does have a lot of prose and explanation but it is beautifully written and it takes you from reading a book to being immersed in an alternate world. I will take Carey's trillon dollar words over fifty cent ones anyday. And her writing is as mature as it gets! She is the writer of all writers and my idol. Definately a must must read!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious and Complex July 1 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This ambitious novel blends the erotic and sadomasochistic with a tale of political intrigue and for the most part handles all three well. Carey's imaginary world is well thought out and amazingly complex, filled with intricately described plots and settings, a feature common to many fantasy novels published today. The religion of Elua, who preaches "love as thou wilt," provides an interesting view of sexual morality that makes Phèdre's occupation as a courtesan seem a natural part of her world.
Courtesan here, of course, is another word for sex slave, which despite all the rationalizations provided, Phèdre quite clearly is for most of the book, whether in the cultured world of Terre d'Ange or as a captive in the hands of her enemies. That she enjoys pain is an interesting idea that brings to mind Anne Rice's "Beauty" Trilogy or Pauline Reage's "The Story of O." As a feature of Phèdre's character this would be interesting to explore further, but it is decidedly a secondary feature of the plot.
There are two reasons this book rates four stars rather than five. First, it is so complex that the political machinations are nearly impossible to follow; Carey's skill as a writer makes it an enjoyable read nonetheless, but to be honest I was lost as to who was who and what they were doing almost from the beginning. A second and more serious flaw is the book's length. At 901 pages it tries too hard to do too much, and the ending, by the time you get there, is so long and drawn out that it becomes anticlimactic. I was left wondering if this wasn't a marketing ploy, with the idea that people would be more likely to buy a thick fantasy novel than a thin one.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The first 600 pages were spectacular... June 2 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
...and it was a shame that a book with so much potential should leave me exhausted from laboring through the last 300 pages instead of rushing out to buy Kushiel #2.
The story is built around the intruiging concept of an alternate renaissance world (with a religion that coincidentally dovetails with themes from Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code)--and is the only fantasy novel I've read with a map of Europe in the front. Although the names of countries and cities have been changed, they all still had historical roots (in OUR world!) and can be deciphered by any reader with a slight classical background. Kudos to Carey for the obviously extensive research she conducted to give her setting authenticity.
The main character Phedre of Terre D'Ange (Land of Angels...aka France) is bought and raised by an erudite nobleman with a hidden agenda of espionage. He has Phedre trained as a courtesan, but in this alternate world the "arts of the bedroom" are related to religious zeal--and the detailed cultural picture of Terre d'Ange painted by the author had me believing it, too. In her acceptable role in society as courtesan, Phedre aids her master by collecting information from her various high-brow clients. Treason and political intrigue gradually sift to the surface...and suddenly Phedre's world is turned upside-down.
This is where the book gets very good. I loved watching Phedre and her uptight body-guard named Josslin come to terms with Barbaric Skaldi tribes. And with eachother. Here the characters were at their fullest and held my concert. But what goes up must come down, as the saying goes. Once this major plot point is resolved, the rest of the story drags on, a 300 page anticlimax. The emotion I had felt as the story unfolded suddenly faded.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE!!
Love, love, love this book! My favorite of the trilogy.
Published 2 months ago by Misty Berry
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book.
I continue to read this book over and over. I love everything about it. I love the characters, the setting and the religious elements. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Pierced by Fate
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... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Jean Roberta
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is steel wrapped in velvet
What captured me most about this series was how the writing style complemented the world and themes explored. Read more
Published 21 months ago by bookworm_storyteller
5.0 out of 5 stars Stil the best erotic series of books I've ever read
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. Read more
Published on Oct. 15 2012 by SS
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 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"
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