We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
The Curse of Chalion Audiobook

The Curse of Chalion

Regular Price:$20.50
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

Lord Cazaril has been, in turn, courtier, castle-warder, and captain; now he is but a crippled ex-galley slave seeking nothing more than a menial job in the kitchens of the Dowager Provincara, the noble patroness of his youth. But Cazaril finds himself promoted to the exalted and dangerous position of tutor to Iselle, the beautiful, fiery sister of the heir to Chalion's throne.

Amidst the decaying splendor and poisonous intrigue of Chalion's ancient capital, Cazaril is forced to confront not only powerful enemies but also the malignant curse that clings to the royal household, trapping him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death for as long as he dares walk the five-fold pathway of the gods.

©2004 Lois McMaster Bujold; (P)2004 Blackstone Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"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....A finely balanced mixture of adventure, swordplay, court intrigue, romance, magic, and religion makes this book a delightful read." (School Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (2830 )
5 star
 (1552)
4 star
 (815)
3 star
 (311)
2 star
 (97)
1 star
 (55)
Overall
4.4 (1613 )
5 star
 (960)
4 star
 (405)
3 star
 (172)
2 star
 (46)
1 star
 (30)
Story
4.4 (1605 )
5 star
 (941)
4 star
 (430)
3 star
 (156)
2 star
 (43)
1 star
 (35)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Terri 04-12-12
    Terri 04-12-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    328
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    925
    179
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    44
    58
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What makes a hero... LMB knows"

    I have yet to read any of LMB's work that does not play the full range of my emotions. She has an incredible knack of turning a person cursed with seemingly unconquerable disabilities of the mind, body or/and heart, giving them an impossible set of tasks and turning them into a hero that takes the reader on a wonderful adventure.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the world she has spun with the Chalion series. It does a brilliant job at showing the multi layers that make up each true humans.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pete Melbourne, Florida 08-17-04
    Pete Melbourne, Florida 08-17-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    52
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    64
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Excellent Fantasy... Epic in feel, finite in pace"

    Although "Paladin of Souls" ties to this book and thereby engenders the label "series", the satisfaction of completing this well told tale with an actual ending cannot be denied. In the genre of Epic Fantasy with it's continuing storylines and characters, "The Curse of Chalion" encapsulates that flowing grandness into a single volume and deservedly leaves us wanting more. Not needing it, wanting it. That being said, Bujold's mastery of her craft is evident here with an intruiging deep portrayal of her protagonist, Caz. His journey is profound and heartfelt as it winds it's way along it's surprising path. The reading is excellent and kept me immersed throughout.

    Well done by all.

    52 of 57 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 03-07-12
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 03-07-12 Member Since 2005

    Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2944
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    370
    305
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    550
    14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable character-driven fantasy"

    I'm already a fan of Bujold's science fiction Vorkosigan series, though it's a little pulpy. This is the first fantasy novel of hers that I've read, and I found the writing and story a cut above the aforementioned books. The characters are interesting and the protagonist, a now crippled and humbled former nobleman soldier with his best years seemingly behind him, is somewhat atypical. Unlike many other fantasy writers, Bujold focuses on intrigue and relationships over swordplay and sorcery, though the plot's not without the latter. She also develops a tasteful but interesting theology.

    While the story gets a little conventional in places, I enjoyed my time in Chalion's world. As for the audiobook experience, I thought the narrator sounded a little slow and medicated at first, but once I got used to his voice, it was fine.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 12-20-11
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 12-20-11 Member Since 2016

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5572
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    375
    212
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2363
    19
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant in every respect"

    When if first heard the voice of the protagonist, Lord Cazaril in The Curse of Chalion, I thought oh brother, this is not going to be good. Was I ever wrong. The narrator Lloyd James was brilliant. This is one of those rare books where the hero is about as reluctant or prepared as one can be to be a hero. But quite the spectacular one he is. This is the perfect fairytale.

    While only middle-aged, in those days (whenever that was), he is certainly not young and virile. No, he is beaten-down and crippled by years on a slave ship. But his heart is strong and his mind is as sharp as ever and he rises to every occasion to meet and successfully deal with adversity. Adversity does not often come in the form of knockdown, drag out, hand-to-hand combat or epic wars but skillful and intelligent (often in spite of himself) dealings in royal politics and usually not so adroit magic. And this is a magical story.

    While not originally drawn to the book by the court intrigue and romance, what the magic and even religion contributed, it all worked to draw me in deeply to a captivating world and a very sweet story. This was another example of a narrator adding a whole other dimension to the book. I loved it.

    20 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mysticalsister San Francisco, CA, United States 10-30-09
    Mysticalsister San Francisco, CA, United States 10-30-09 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    358
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    265
    77
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    45
    0
    Overall
    "Action, Magic, Romance = Absolute Heaven!"

    A grizzled galley slave turns out to be a hero, and a very high magician. And that's just the beginning!

    For anyone looking for a new series, or a new brilliant story teller, or a great reader -- look no further. Curse of Chalion is brilliant. I promise you will fall in love with the characters. LMB has a unique ability to create a world that comes alive. I enjoyed every minute of my time in Chalion, and know I will revisit it over and over again.

    Also: Do NOT miss the sequel, Paladin of Souls. It is every bit as good. And when you've finished both of them, start the Sharing Knife series. It's exquisite, too! Then, it's on to the Vor books!

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Marie Honolulu, HI United States 08-03-04
    S. Marie Honolulu, HI United States 08-03-04 Listener Since 2003

    S. Marie

    HELPFUL VOTES
    353
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    87
    23
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    1
    Overall
    "An imperfect hero captures your heart."

    Though somewhat lacking in action, this tale of court intrigue and death magic held me in thrall. As in real life, the main characters were neither purely good nor evil. And most are far from perfect. The main protagonist is a case in point, he is an embittered, semi-crippled man, who is neither young nor handsome, yet his plight grabs the reader and the portrayal of his every action rings true-to-life.. This is a solid story unlike any other fantasy I?ve yet read, and well worth the book credit.

    28 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Sunrise, FL, USA 12-17-04
    Christopher Sunrise, FL, USA 12-17-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    59
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    80
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Perfect storytelling"

    The Curse of Chalion by Louise McMaster Bujold

    This was my most recent Audible listen, and is most definitely one of the best single (non series) audiobooks I have ever had the pleasure of hearing.

    This book is not epic fantasy, high fantasy, or dark fantasy, it falls somewhere in what I would call middle fantasy.

    It has a low-magic feel, and is more character driven than any other fantasy piece I can remember. It would definitely appeal to mainstream fiction fans. I don't have any negative comments on this book, it was a fine example of what a fantasy novel should be.

    This book gets a perfect 5 from me, and that's saying something, because I don't think I've ever given a perfect score to a fantasy novel before, not even to Tolkien, sorry.

    21 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric C. Zawadzki Minneapolis, MN, United States 05-10-08
    Eric C. Zawadzki Minneapolis, MN, United States 05-10-08 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    90
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    126
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    8
    0
    Overall
    "Good, solid read"

    This book hasn't changed fantasy fiction forever, but I definitely enjoyed reading it and would read another book by this author. The world-building isn't amazingly cutting edge, but it's solid and internally consistent. The protagonist isn't utterly unique in the genre, but he's sympathetic, and the supporting characters serve their intended purposes. The plot is relatively straightforward, though there are a few delightful little twists. The writing style relies on a lot of internal monologue and narrative exposition, but this is hardly the only book in the genre to do so, and I've seen many books that did it less successfully. The narrator does a good job distinguishing the voices of the fairly large cast of characters.

    In all, I was completely satisfied with this book and its presentation.

    16 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jefferson 01-02-11
    Jefferson 01-02-11 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2540
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    352
    325
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1350
    13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An Original Metaphysical Historical Fantasy"

    This is an original, well-conceived, well-written, exciting, and unpredictable historical-fantasy novel, featuring an unusual protagonist in Lupe dy Cazaril (Caz for short), a thirty-five-year-old ex-soldier who has been physically and emotionally damaged and wants only to live out his days quietly and out of sight, preferably working at menial tasks for charity, but who finds himself caught up in the complicated and dangerous political and spiritual affairs of his home state of Chalion. Bujold takes genre conventions like the weak king, the evil counselor, the innocent princess, the weathered hero, the dire curse, and the set of patriarchal and bickering medieval states and develops all of them in unexpected and satisfying ways, partly due to how carefully she works out her secondary world's religious system and gods so as to make the reader think in new ways about fate, free will, divinity, heaven, matter, and spirit. And she tells a good story with believably human characters we care about.

    As for the reader, I came to enjoy Lloyd James voice and mannerisms very much, his hesitations, laughs, accents, all work (even when he seems to don a southern accent for an old former court woman), and he infuses the story with extra wit, humor, emotion, and intelligence.

    All in all an enjoyable book difficult to turn off.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric minneapolis, MN, United States 05-10-08
    Eric minneapolis, MN, United States 05-10-08 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Good, solid read"

    This book hasn't changed fantasy fiction forever, but I definitely enjoyed reading it and would read another book by this author. The world-building isn't amazingly cutting edge, but it's solid and internally consistent. The protagonist isn't utterly unique in the genre, but he's sympathetic, and the supporting characters serve their intended purposes. The plot is relatively straightforward, though there are a few delightful little twists. The writing style relies on a lot of internal monologue and narrative exposition, but this is hardly the only book in the genre to do so, and I've seen many books that did it less successfully. The narrator does a good job distinguishing the voices of the fairly large cast of characters.

    In all, I was completely satisfied with this book and its presentation.

    19 of 23 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.