With her provocative debut novel, Jacqueline Carey introduces herself as an extraordinarily talented writer.

In a land where physical perfection is bred and adepts of all persuasions are trained, Phhdre is flawed with a scarlet fleck in her left eye. It isnt until Anafiel Delaunay names the flaw as Kushiels Dart and identifies Phhdre as an extremely rare anguissette that Phhdres value becomes marketable.

As she grows up under Anafiels tutelage, her physical, mental and sexual training have one endto become his secret spy. Her pleasure comes from pain and her patrons give up their secrets for a night with her, yet Anafiels enemy sells her to barbarians just when she learns of a conspiracy threatening the throne.

This is a lavish alternate history paralleling medieval Europe, but with the addition of a new religion and detailed mythology. Ms. Carey weaves an exquisite tapestry of politics, intrigue, history, magic, desire and fate into a breathtaking epic that will captivate readers. (Jun., 704 pp., $25.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kelly Rae Cooper