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Seeker's Mask [Paperback]

P. C. Hodgell
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 23 2004
Meisha Merlin is proud to announce the continuing adventures of Jame in P. C. Hodgell's Seeker's Mask, the third book of the Kencyrath. This edition will contain a new introduction by Charles de Lint, the novel Seeker's Mask, and the maps that P. C. has created for the book. Jame has found and been reunited with her ten year older twin brother Tori. Now all she has to do is find a place for herself among the Kencyrs that are following her brother. This is not quite as easy as it sounds. For, if you remember, Jame has not grown up in the normal Kencyr lifestyle. When she is placed in the Women's Halls and is expected to change and become a normal quiet Kencyr lady, it is the Women's Halls that undergo the changes. For when you have Shadow Guild Assassins, ghosts, strange beings, and other characters from your past after you, it is rather difficult not to want a weapon, instead of a sewing needle, in your hand. Soon Jame and Jorin, her blind ounce, are on the run again, trying to stay one step ahead of the danger.

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Seeker's Mask is the sequel to P.C. Hodgell's classic high fantasy novels God Stalk and Dark of the Moon (collected in the omnibus volume Dark of the Gods). Fast-paced, fascinating, and skillfully written, Seeker's Mask continues the story of Jame the Talisman, the noblewoman/thief who possesses (or is possessed by) dangerous magical talents.

Jame has finally been reunited with her twin brother, the Highlord Torisen. But the joy of reunion doesn't last long. Jame is banished to the purdah-like Women's Halls as her brother's noblemen argue over who will marry her. When assassins slip into the segregated quarters, Jame must flee for her life, alone save for her blind, mind-linked cub, Jorin. But her attempt to rejoin her brother is complicated by court intrigues; by the ghost of her cruel half- brother Bane; by the conquered Merikit, who assault Jame's people with unknown magic; and by the weirding-mist, a mysterious fog that magically moves individuals, armies, and even castles to new and sometimes unidentifiable locations in the Riverland and beyond. And there are other problems. Jame's little-understood magical abilities are growing not only stronger, but more destructive. She bears the Ivory Knife and the Book Bound in Pale Leather, monstrously dangerous magic tools. The lost memories of her adolescence are returning, and they reveal that Jame may be a servant of the archenemy of her people, the worlds-destroying Perimal Darkling. --Cynthia Ward

About the Author

Pat Hodgell can't remember a time when she wasn't passionately interested in science fiction and fantasy. "‘David Star' Space Ranger by Paul French was the first novel with which I fell in love, so much so that I started making my own copy of the library book, long-hand in a spiral notebook, complete with a carefully drawn facsimile of the frontispiece. Long afterward, I cam across a paperback reprint and learned that my beloved ‘Paul French' was none other than the ubiquitous Issac Asimov."

Over the years, as her interest grew, Pat collected piles of paperback science fiction and fantasy novels and comic books. Soon, however, reading and collecting genre fiction wasn't enough for her and, after college, she began to write it as well.

"It would be nice to say that, after the long suppression of the writing impulse, the dam burst—but it didn't. Due to lack of practice, I simply didn't know how to put a story down on paper." Pat began to learn, however, and by the next summer she had several stories finished and an invitation to the Clarion Writer's Workshop. "There, for the first time, I found a whole community of people like me—storytellers, wordsmiths, an entire family I never knew I had," Pat says of the Clarion experience. "Even more wonderful, here suddenly were professionals like Harlan Ellison and Kate Wilhelm telling me that I could indeed write. I could hardly believe my luck." She made her first professional sale two years later. Since then, she's sold stories to such anthologies as Berkley Showcase, Elsewhere III, Imaginary Lands, and the Last Dangerous Visions. Pat has also published three novels: God Stalk, Dark of the Moon, and Seeker's Mask, all part of an on-going fantasy saga concerned not! only with high adventure, but also with questions of personal identity, religion, politics, honor, and arboreal drift.

Both of Pat's parents are professional artists. Other reputed ancestors include a decapitated French Huguenot, a sheep thief tried by Chaucer, and a "parcel of New York Millerites who in 1843 sold their possessions, put on white nightgowns, and sat on the chicken coop waiting for the world to end. When it didn't they moved to Wisconsin out of sheer embarrassment."

Pat earned her Master's in English Literature from the University of Minnesota, her doctorate at the University of Minnesota with a dissertation on Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, and is a graduate of both the Clarion and the Milford Writers Workshops. In addition to her work with WDS, she is a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in modern British literature and composition, and teaches an audio-cassette-based course on science fiction and fantasy for the University of Minnesota.

Pat lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in a nineteenth-century wood-framed house, which has been in her family for generations. In addition to writing and teaching, she attends science fiction conventions, collects yarn, knits, embroiders, and makes her own Christmas cards.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars lacked the fluidity of the previous 2 books Aug. 26 2002
By svaran
Let me first say that I am a huge fan of P C Hodgell and consider her books amongst the greatest in high fantasy. Like many of my fellow reviewers I waited for years for the "new" Jame book. When it finally came I was surprised that the writing did not grab me from the first page as the first two books had, it also seem to down play the enormity of some of the key incidents that were mentioned in the previous two books the disaster of the "white hills" and the massacre of Mark's family. It also cast the high borns as power hungry factions with the kendar slaves to their precocious whims. An aspect I did not enjoy.
I can only assume that Hodgell tried to paint the Kencyrath with more realistic strokes in an attempt to flesh them out more. Unfortunately what she has done is make Jame - a paragon of virture less plausiable by contrast. Tori also played far too small a role in this novel.
Why did I give it 5 stars? Because thats what her sort of brilliance deserves, even if I was not totally enamoured with the book as much as I was her with her first two.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thank You Meisha Merlin May 13 2001
I confess I am purchasing this book though I have a copy from the previous publication. That one was poorly done; the binding so tight that the spine broke on both copies I know of. Ironicly, that was the only one of Hodgell's books I purchased new...until last year.
'Godstalk' and 'Dark of the Moon' were out of print by the time I discovered Hodgell by reading 'Stranger Blood' in the anthology 'Imaginary Lands'. Even now, I find it hard to pass by any copy of her work in a used book store. I've bought nearly a dozen of each to pass on to other people who I thought would enjoy them, and at least seven of us have been awaiting book four for an eternity.
Hodgell's world has the richness and logic of dreams, the main plot being garnished with seemingly incidental details which appear again and again until a new pattern becomes clear; woven like the discarded silk threads that form the Peacock Gloves. The people and places you meet here will fire your imagination and enrich your dreams.
Nearly two years ago I found out from Stephen Pagel, of Meisha Merlin Publishing, that they were picking up Hodgell's work and publishing the first two in an omnibus edition, with plans to release 'Seeker's' mask and then the fourth book of the series at one year intervals. I was thrilled, when I purchased 'Dark of the Gods', to discover they'd included a short story I hadn't previously been able to get my hands on. I am purchasing this publication of 'Seeker's Mask' despite having another, because Meisha Merlin's quality of paper and binding is outstanding and will last for my lifetime and beyond.
Thank you, Meisha Merlin. This coming year looks to be a long one, but thanks to you I can see a light at the end.
I still haven't heard the title for book four, but having heard it referred to, long-ago, as "Jame goes to the Citadel," I have no doubt it will have all the power and intensity of her previous three.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Fantasy April 24 2001
If you haven't read the first two books in this series (published together as Dark of the Gods) I cannot recommend that you read them enough, first for their own merits as exceptional fantasy works and because you really need the background to fully enjoy Seeker's Mask.
Seeker's Mask opens shortly after the end of Dark of the Moon. Jame's quest has ended. She is reunited with her long-lost brother Tori and has returned their father's sword and ring. Unfortunately before she and Tori have a chance to reconnect, she is bundled off to learn how to be a Highborn lady. Although this section of the book takes an opportunity to explore the Women's World with its own hidden powers and politics, it isn't long before Jame has shed her mask and is off on a quest with Jorin in tow, creating mayhem where ever she goes.
Like DoG, Tori is featured intermittently in his own sections, and little is resolved between brother and sister which I felt was a missed opportunity. Their relantionship, while complex and requiring a realistic resolution to their many misunderstandings, hardly advanced from the previous books. They remain seperated until the end of Seeker's Mask, and the next book hints that this trend will continue (and let the next book be here soon!)
Despite this quibble, this is an excellent book. Hodgell's plot will keep you turning through 400 + pages without fatigue and Jame the heroine never fails to retain our interest. She is the most complex heroine in fantasy today. Conflicted by honor and the demands of her religion and upbringing, she nevertheless takes charge of her actions. While striving to be true to herself, she also makes mistakes, sometimes pulling down entire cities in the process!
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When I first saw that this book was coming out, I was ecstatic. I first read the her first two books years ago and I have been waiting for this book ever since.
Hodgell has created a world that contains a perfect blend of exotic mysticism and gritty realism and then proceeds to breathes life even to even the smallest charecters.
In Jame, Hodgell has created one of the most memorable and uncoventional heroines in fantasy. She rarely knows what she's doing or has the slightest idea how she's going to meet her goals but she always seems highly competent and unpredictable. Not even she knows what she is going to do next. Jame is also unusual in that her main relationships are with family, friends, or enemies; she has no romantic interest in her life and does not feel the need for one. The only things that mars her fiery independence is her deep need to forge a relationship with her brother, Tori.
There is only one thing that mars my enjoyment of this book, the fact that de Lint's preface revealed that it had originally been published years ago with a very low distribution and I didn't know it.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely
I had read Dark of the Moon, God Stalk and To Ride a Rathorn before I found Seekers Mask. It was the bridge I needed between the beginning and the present stories. Read more
Published on Sept. 15 2009 by L. Aldridge
5.0 out of 5 stars Slow at first but worth rereading
It is not as fluid as the first two but still an excellent story.
Really intriguing characters and development. Great job, Patricia!
Published on Feb. 28 2003
2.0 out of 5 stars Hodgell Rocks!
This is an absolute must-have for any fantasy reader. I have read and re-read her books and eagerly anticipate the arrival of the next ones to find out what happens. Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2003 by "liliths_dream"
2.0 out of 5 stars Usual Superb writing, just not about Jaime and her brother
I was oh-so-excited when the book finally became available and I was able to purchase it. When I received the book I discovered that maybe half of the short stories contained... Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2003 by "liliths_dream"
5.0 out of 5 stars The return of Jame, at long last!
Great, complex high fantasy from an author people should read more of! Reminds me of CJ Cherryh (Especially the Fortress in the Eye of Time) in a way, in the sense of complex... Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2002 by Paul Kowalski
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointed, but I had VERY high expectations
I read God Stalk and Dark of the Moon when they were first published. I spent the next decade and a half actively looking for the sequel. Read more
Published on Aug. 12 2001 by J. Leahy
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