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The Dark Queen (Dark Queen Saga) [Paperback]

Susan Carroll

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Book Description

29 Mar 2005 Dark Queen Saga
From Brittany’s misty shores to the decadent splendor of Paris’s royal court, one woman must fulfill her destiny–while facing the treacherous designs of Catherine de Medici, the dark queen.

She is Ariane, the Lady of Faire Isle, one of the Cheney sisters, renowned for their mystical skills and for keeping the isle secure and prosperous. But this is a time when women of ability are deemed sorceresses, when Renaissance France is torn by ruthless political intrigues, and all are held in thrall to the sinister ambitions of Queen Catherine de Medici. Then a wounded stranger arrives on Faire Isle, bearing a secret the Dark Queen will do everything in her power to possess. The only person Ariane can turn to is the comte de Renard, a nobleman with fiery determination and a past as mysterious as his own unusual gifts.

Riveting, vibrant, and breathtaking, The Dark Queen follows Ariane and Renard as they risk everything to prevent the fulfillment of a dreadful prophecy–even if they must tempt fate and their own passions.

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THE CHAMBER LAY HIDDEN BENEATH THE OLD PART OF THE house, far from prying eyes. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  53 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First In The Cheney Sister Trilogy!!! 15 July 2005
By Kristi Ahlers - Published on
Ms. Carroll has deftly woven history, and romance into a story that is unusual but appealing. She has taken real life characters such as Catherine de Medici, and given her truly center stage as a player in the conflict that beseiges our heroine, Ariane Cheney and her path to her destiny. Her destiny is none other than Comte Renard.

Ariane has become the Lady of the Isle after the death of her mother. Life is hard for her and her sisters since their father has left and bills are mounting. She has been keeping to herself on Faire Isle when trouble comes in the form of the Dark Queen. Catherine De Medici has aspirations that she will see come to light. If this means setting an evil witch hunter after those that live on the Isle of her late friend (Ariane's mother) than so be it. Ariane will do what she must in order to keep her people safe. What she doesn't want to do is be forced to marry Renard. She wants love deep in her heart, despite the pain that she has seen due to "love." Still she is drawn helpless to the Renard. Will she allow her heart into his keeping though, or will pride stand in the way?

Renard is from humble stock. His grandfather despised him and the feeling were returned. Still, he must marry and when he sets eyes on the calm beauty of Ariane he will do whatever it takes to see this lady his bride. Neither is looking for love, but love will find them anyhow. Will they be able to save their love as well as the people who are counting on them? Or will the Dark Queen win all?

Ms. Carroll has taken the aspects of magic, witchcraft, romance, and history and combined them all into a absorbing read that will enthrall the reader. This is the first time I've ever read anything by this author and I have to wonder "what have I been doing???" I love historical reads that actually have history in them. This is one series I highly recommend. Ms. Carroll has laid the groundwork for the next in this series and I for one can't wait for it to be released. Add this to your summer reading list. You will be well entertained!

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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read! 2 April 2005
By Shirley Priscilla Johnson - Published on
In this outstanding work we are introduced to three young women, Ariane, The Lady of Faire Isle, and her two sisters Gabrielle and Miri.

These ladies are not what we would consider 'normal' women, but are Daughters of the Earth, or those who have inherited different supernatural powers. However, now these gentle women throughout the world are being charged with being sorceresses instead of being the healers that they are. It is a dangerous time for them.

After the death of their mother, Ariane became The Lady of Faire Isle and soon her powers were called upon to stop the wicked scheme of The Dark Queen, Catherine.

The Dark Queen, also a Daughter of The Earth, dabbled in the black arts which was forbidden, and she was responsible for the death of Ariane's mother. Ariane knew her powers were great and her evil influence was wide spread; she indeed was a dangerous woman.

Ariane was unsure of her ability to walk in her mother's footsteps, and feared her power was not developed enough to battle such a powerful woman; but the decision seemed to be made for her as the battle against The Dark Queen for Ariane's very existence, their way of life, and those she loves begins.

To add more confusion to her life a nobleman named counte de Renard is determined to have her as his bride; however he hides many secrets and Ariane is unsure if she can trust this nobleman not only with her heart, but with her life.

This is an excellent work of mystical power, battles between good and evil, romantic encounters and mysterious happenings. I was glued to the pages and couldn't wait to see what happened to Ariane and her sisters. It is a well written story, flowing evenly throughout the book; the characters are well defined and brought to life through the authors descriptive pen. You definitely are drawn into the storyline and your mind becomes one with the happenings before you. Outstanding.

The Dark Queen is indeed a wonderful reading experience, one of those stories you are glad has a sequel you can look forward to reading. Highly recommended.

Shirley Johnson
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark Fluff 18 July 2006
By K. H. Madrid - Published on
This is delightful, summertime fluff. The characters are interesting, the bad guys are creepy and the history (Catherine de Medici and St. Bartholomew's Eve) is real. The fantasy the author spins around the events leading up to the slaughter is an enchantment in itself. Only the language itself falls short of the story. The dialogue is sometimes stilted and the sporadic use of French feels forced. All in all the book is a good bet for a pool side read.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good story, good characters, great advice 30 Jan 2006
By jebaer - Published on
The Dark Queen is an interesting story set in a historical setting with a feminist slant. It's much more than just a romance novel with some historical details thrown in. The main character is coping with the recent loss of her mother and the changing relationships with her younger sisters. Roles of women are examined and questioned is a very modern sense though the story is set in 16th century France. Having said all this, I enjoyed The Dark Queen (though she doesn't appear until the 2nd half of the book) and despite the 500 pages the story kept my attention.

I liked the little touches--the heroine is not irritatingly beautiful, the first ever head butt between lovers and this bit of advice for women everywhere: Never trust a man over your cat.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The cover tricked me! 11 Aug 2005
By A. E. McQuade - Published on
As a huge fan of historical fiction (particularly of the Medieval and Renaissance varieties) as well as of fantasy novels, I was rather excited when I found this book on the "new fiction" table of my local bookstore. The back cover billed this book as a feminist-historical-fiction-fantasy hybrid. So, I thought "what the heck!" and purchased.

About 2 pages in - upon reading the physical description of the strikingly beautiful main character, Ariane, and the subsequent physical descriptions of her strikingly beautiful younger sisters - I realized I had been tricked! This book is more a Romance novel than anything else, albeit a slightly more substantial and far more engaging read than most "bodice rippers." (Of which, admittedly, I'm not widely read. So, perhaps they have more hidden charms than I have been lead to believe.)

Most of the other reviewers have labeled this book a decent "Summer Read." I'd classify it more in the decent "Commuter Read" category. If you take noisy public transportation, and want to occupy yourself with some easy-reading fluff, this book is probably ideal. If you're looking to sink your teeth into a solid novel of historical fiction, or even fantasy - this is probably not the best buy.
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