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Kushiel's Dart [Hardcover]

Jacqueline Carey
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jun 2001
A massive fantasy tale about the violent death of an old age and the birth of a new one. Here is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Born with a scarlet mote in her left eye, Phedre no Delaunay is sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics, foreign languages, and the arts of pleasure. Above all, she learns the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Exquisite courtesan, yet talented spy, she may seem an unlikely heroine...but when Phedre stumbles upon a plot threatening her homeland, Terre d'Ange, she has no choice but to act. Betrayed into captivity in the barbarous northland of Skaldia, and accompanied only by disdainful young warrior-priest, Phedre makes a harrowing escape and an even more harrowing journey, to return to her people and deliver them a warning of the impending invasion. And that proves only the first step in a quest that will take her to the edge of despair and beyond.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (Jun 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312872380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312872380
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.5 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,324,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"A very sophisticated fantasy, intricately plotted and a fascinating read."--Robert Jordan"This brilliant and daring debut catapults Carey immediately into the top rank of fantasy novelists . . . . At the end, the heroine reminds one of an equally strong-minded sister whose home was Tara."-"Publishers Weekly (starred review)" --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jacqueline Carey was born in 1964. After receiving BA degrees in Psychology and English Literature from Lake Forest College, she embarked on a writing career. Her previous publications include various short stories and a non-fiction book. Kushiel's Dart is her first novel, and she currently resides in west Michigan. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love as thou wilt 5 May 2004
A beautifully crafted piece of writing, containing some very clever ideas. The story is set in an alternate middle ages with a completely new religious mythology. Although it's tempting to gloss over the religion at first, (especially if you're a speed reader as I am)do try not to, as the religion is the basis of the story, the belief system motivating both main characters. This is a tale of treachery, love and betrayal, but most particularly love in all it's forms. There's the love for one's friends and fellow man, love for one's country, love for one's Gods (even when they drive you hard)and erotic love. There is a lovely erotic undercurrent throughout the book as our heroine comes to terms with the fact that she feels pain as pleasure and what this means for her when she is enslaved.
There's plenty of political shenanigans, spying and battles. I couldn't resist looking at the maps every now and again and trying to work out where the characters were in modern terms.
And how many of us could resist the Cassiline? What a knight in shining armour! I love the way he starts out a pompous idiot and his character develops through adversity. The Perfect Companion indeed.
Not so much magical as mystical, I highly recommend Kushiel's Dart and the following two novels in the trilogy.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kushiel's Dart 7 Oct 2005
This is the story of Phedre No'Delauney, and starts when she is a very small child and her story as an anguisette, chosen to experience pain and pleasure as one.
This book can be quite erotic at times, but this book should not be dismissed as erotic fiction it is much more than that, an extremely well told book based in the middle ages in Europe, the use of the old country names such as Alba emphasises this.
Phedre bears the mark of Kushiel's Dart, a scarlet mote in her eye. The main part of this story revolves a\round Terre D'Ange (Land of Angels), the inhabitants of Terre D'Ange are descended from divine beings.
The story is based on politics, love & betrayal, aside from Phedre the cast of characters is impressive with extremely well-developed characters, and JC has detailed these very well within the story. The beginning of the story can get quite cumbersome and this is quite a long book but, it is well worth sticking to it after the first 150 pages or so the plot gets much more interesting. I did get the feeling that Phedre was narrating from sometime long ago in the past and seems as though she was looking back and re-living her experiences.
This is a fantastic novel, it has been criticised but, I personally feel this is a brilliant book and remains one of my all-time favourites, it is a very long book as indeed are the others in this trilogy, though this one is the longest but, it is never drawn out and is simply a stunning book to read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complex, glittering fantasy novel 18 May 2004
_Kushiel's Dart_ is a truly striking work of fantasy - and not just for its notorious central conceit, although in many ways that alone would have been enough.
Carey's heroine, Phedre no Delauney, is a courtesan whose god-touched destiny it is to derive her greatest pleasure from the sharpest pain. Her story plays out in a skewed, brilliantly-conceived version of Europe, where Germanic and Celtic peoples still organised as tribal societies border a sparkling post-Renaissance France-by-another-name. It is at the heart of the latter that Phedre lives, a star ascendant in a society where prostitution is a sacred act, and where politics always lurk beneath the surface. Entering the service of nobleman Delauney, she soon becomes entangled in conspiracies galore.
The world is one of the richest and most detailed fantasy creations I've encountered in some time, beautifully-drawn with an eye for sensual detail and believeably varied mindsets. The touchstones which make it different from our own - such as the god who emerged from Christ's blood and the Magdalene's tears - are elegantly drawn out as both theme and background. The story emerges naturally from the political and social dynamics of the world, and occasionally from its more overtly fantastical elements. While the politicking is occasionally a little unsophisticated, the story is sufficiently twisty to satisfy most.
Phedre herself is a stunning creation, a very human figure for all her extraordinary qualities. She makes an engaging and memorable point-of-view for the reader, and Carey makes a brave choice in presenting such a resourceful and intelligent heroine who constantly carries within her the seeds of her greatest weakness: the fact that she gets such gratification from being out of control.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative and exotic new fantasy 8 Jun 2001
By A Customer
I was sent proof copies of this book for a cover quote, and feel strongly enough about it to put a review here. There is a lot of derivative, run of the mill fantasy about, but this book is fresh, complex, somewhat daring, and very well written. Perhaps not for the totally faint-hearted, as its themes are often of an adult nature, but Carey has to be applauded for this addition to the genre. It won't be given the same massive push as one of the new block-busters of fantasy, so I'm here doing my bit as a fellow author. Support new talent. Buy this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic. Loved it.
This book was one of the most enjoyable reads I have had in a long time. The setting and the passion of this book were amazing cannot wait to read the next installment.
Published 2 months ago by Kemryn
5.0 out of 5 stars Twisted, clever and deeply compelling.
I downloaded this on the recommendation of a friend and have spent the last 4 days utterly absorbed in the world of Phedre no Delauney. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Anthemusa Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, seedy, addictive
Although I read this a while ago, I still recall the twisted darkness it left me with. And one of the most amazing romances in all time. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Elle L
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy with an erotic backdrop
I was looking for a story based around a strong heroine; Abookabout.co.uk has a tagging system which led me to this Novel. Its not far shy of 1000 pages. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Clive Butterfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
I love it. I could do a proper review - names, characters etc. but there is no point. You are either going to love her fantasy world of medieval France or not. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Robert Davidge
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have!
This book is beautifully written, it sucks you into with complete certainty and the suspense and sensuality will keep you going to the end. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Sas Amaz
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
Kushiel's Dart is a very interesting tale, mainly because of the number of generally taboo subjects all in one place, namely religion, paganism, gay/lesbian relationships, sex,... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Keshnee
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book in the style of Game of Thrones
This historical fantasy novel is great if you've also enjoyed the HBO series Game of Thrones (more compatible with the series than the books). Read more
Published 17 months ago by Sanne de Jong
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor condition
The book arrived in such poor condition that I binned it and bought for Kindle. It was dogeared, the cover torn and the pages yellowish
Published 17 months ago by Scots_shopper
5.0 out of 5 stars A book everyone should read
Just fabulous.... read it!!

This is one of those books that I pick up and read at least once a year.
Published 18 months ago by Jadeh
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