"Life is a school of the spirit." This is the lesson Aidan must learn in this sweeping historical epic set in the 10th century. The story starts a little slow as Aidan and his fellow monks prepare for their journey to take a holy book to the Holy Roman Emperor in Constantinople. Once they are attacked by Vikings, however, the pace quickens and never lets up. That's quite a feat for an 880-page book (paperback edition). It is a well written, well plotted story of discovery of the external world as well as Aidan's heart. I highly recommend it.
I still think back to this book often and remember with longing how engrossed I was in it.
Theology-based fantasy thriller
Cazaril's use of Death Magic.
Better. It made me think!
I remember a few decades ago reading Bujold's The Spirit Ring when it was new. At the time I thought it a fine story and she a very talented author. Then I kind of quite reading heroic fantasy for a long, long time. The Curse of Chalion has reminded me just how great the genre can be and what a fantastic author Bujold is.
This book is such a fine mix of a very well developed fantasy world, complex theology, political intrigue, and action/adventure that anyone who appreciates fantasy literature is almost sure to like it. It is a deep character study, following Cazaril as he goes from a nearly crippled, penniless vagabond to a god-touched player in Chalion's court. There are good men, evil men, ghosts, demons, gods and goddesses, and even a little of a love story at work here, with one elements never dominating, but all working together to create a wonderful story.
Bujold tells her story in a straight-forward style that never feels stripped down and never really leaves the reader wondering for the point of view of any other character. She has, without a doubt, one of the best voices in modern fantasy.
That narration, too, was amazing. Each character was given a distinct voice, and considering how many of them there were, it was nearly mind-boggling. Definitely two thumbs way up for Lloyd James!
I cannot recommend this book enough. Or relate how thrilled I am to find that Bujold has given us more books dealing with the five gods. By the Bastard's balls, I look forward to reading them all very soon!
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