I remember when I first read Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey, years ago now. It was a rare treat, an immersive, compulsive treat of a book of the sort that comes along oh so rarely. It's a lyrically written (and at times rather racy!) epic of intrigue and power-politics, set in a fantasy world with the feel of Renaissance Italy. I was therefore delighted to have the opportunity to brief fabulous new ebook covers for the trilogy, which you can see below.
Bearing in mind the beautifully written eroticism that permeates the book, I guess it's pretty reductive to say that it conjurers up Game of Thrones with a hint of Fifty Shades of Grey!! But whatever the comparisons, it's a damn fine, beautifully imagined read.
Our main character, Phèdre nó Delaunay, is a courtesan and spy who enjoys pain (which has a spiritual aspect to it, as it's a sign of her being chosen by a particular god). Her mentor trains her in all manner of skills to allow her to understand politics, languages etc. to help her become a top-flight spy, and she uses her position and wiles as a courtesan to get information and power. Huge drama, high-stakes political maneuvering, emotional highs and X-rated scenes are the result. And this is not a salacious read, it's elegant and powerfully written stuff and we end up adoring the main character as she lives through hardship, pain and love.
The wonderful Game of Thrones series is keeping A Song of Ice and Fire at the top of the charts. And authors such as E. L. James, Sylvia Day and Lora Leigh are topping charts in romance and erotica. So by that measure there should be no stopping Carey's Kushiel Legacy! See the wonderful new covers we've designed for the three ebooks, below, which are out now . . .
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Phèdre nó Delaunay has a turbulent path before her, one that will touch the life of queens and princes - and change the course of her land...
After a childhood of indentured servitude, Phèdre's bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with a very particular mission. He's also the first to recognize who and what she is: one touched by the god Kushiel's dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. Phèdre is trained equally in history, politics and the courtly arts - but she's also eventually taught the arts of pleasure, And above all, she learns how 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, then love and honour goad her further. Her journey will take her to the edge of despair and beyond, as false friend, loving enemy and beloved assassin can all wear the same glittering mask. Navigating a world of deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, Phèdre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear.
Kushiel's Dart won the Locus Award for Best First Novel in 2002. It also won the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best Fantasy and was on the Amazon.com Editors' list of Top Ten Fantasy for 2001.
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Phèdre has been trained as a skilled spy, courtesan and strategist under her tutor's watchful eye. He was the first to see she'd been touched by Kushiel's dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. And above all, Phèdre was taught to observe, remember, and analyze, skills that may yet save her life.
Once before, Phèdre gave up everything she held dear to save her homeland, but the gods wishes still cast a shadow over her. For while their young queen is well-loved by her people, there are some who believe other heads should wear the crown. It seems factions who previously escaped the wrath of the mighty are not yet done with schemes for power and revenge.
To protect and serve, Phèdre must once again leave her beloved homeland. She will meet old friends and new enemies . . . and uncover an earth-shattering plot masterminded by the one person she cannot deny.
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Phèdre nó Delaunay is a woman touched by Kushiel's dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. Her path has been a strange and dangerous one, and through it all the devoted swordsman Joscelin has been at her side. Her very nature is torturous for them both, but he is sworn to her and he has never forsaken his vow: to protect and serve.
Now Phèdre’s plans will put his pledge to the ultimate test. For she hasn't forgotten her childhood friend Hyacinthe, and has spent ten long years searching for the key to free him from eternal indenture. But this is a bargain he struck with the gods themselves - to take Phèdre's place as a sacrifice and save a nation. However, Phèdre cannot forgive herself or the gods. She is determined to seize one last hope to redeem her friend, even if it means her death.
The search will take Phèdre and Joscelin to the far side of the world, to distant courts where madness reigns and souls are currency. At the end of the their journey, they'll find a power so mighty that none dare speak its name.
SELECTED PRAISE FOR THE SERIES
'A very sophisticated fantasy, intricately plotted and a fascinating read.' Robert Jordan
'With her provocative debut novel, Jacqueline Carey introduces herself as an extraordinarily talented writer....Ms. Carey weaves an exquisite tapestry of politics, intrigue, history, magic, desire and fate into a breathtaking epic that will captivate readers.' Romantic Times
'Superbly detailed, fascinatingly textured, and sometimes unbearably intense: a resonant, deeply satisfying, and altogether remarkable debut.' Kirkus Reviews
'Brilliant and daring . . . In the character of Phèdre nó Delaunay 'a whore's unwanted get' sold into indentured servitude in the opulent Night Court, the author has created a particularly strong and memorable female lead . . . 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. . . This is an assured and magnificent book that will appeal to both male and female readers.' Publishers Weekly
'Carey's second extravagantly sensuous novel fulfils every promise made by Kushiel's Dart . . . There is seemingly something for everyone here: a great love story, intense spirituality, high eroticism, and lots of adventure, intrigue, and swordplay.' Booklist (starred review)
'The promise of Kushiel's Dart, the first volume of Carey's immense trilogy set in a skewed Renaissance world, is more than realized in this splendid conclusion . . . Effortlessly rich in adventurous incident, with a huge cast of well-defined characters, this poignant and robust story will appeal to both fantasy lovers and fans of erotic romance.' Publishers Weekly
'Carey dismantles standard notions of both magic and mortality to produce a long, complex saga worthy of the field's best writer on such a scale, George R. R. Martin' Locus
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