Message From The Author

Author's Message

The Weapon of Feminine Wiles

As an anguissette (one who is destined to find pleasure in pain), Phèdre ns Delaunay isn't your usual fantasy heroine. She's not skilled in magic or martial arts; indeed, trained as a courtesan and a spy, this beautiful woman's skills lie in decidedly more delicate areas.

In Jacqueline Carey's wildly popular epic trilogy from Tor, which ends this month with Kushiel's Avatar, the S&M-loving Phèdre exists in a lush fantasy world. (Think Anne Rice's Exit to Eden crossed with J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.)

Perhaps one of her most endearing characteristics is her very imperfection. Phèdre is vain, with a penchant for gorgeous clothes, and as an added liability, she has a deep-seated weakness for her arch-nemesis, Melisande Shahrizai. But she's also a gifted linguist and a loyal friend, quick-witted and compassionate and, most of all, possessed of a dogged courage and stubbornness that enable her to persist where others would despair.

"Phèdre is a heroine who transcends her own limitations, transmuting the yielding tendencies of her nature into strengths by force of sheer will," Carey explains. "Despite being drawn to the darker side of desire, she refuses to accept the role of victim. This, I think, is what readers have responded to most strongly. Whether or not we share her desires, we can admire Phèdre's refusal to be valued as less than worthy because of them."

"Phèdre's heroism acknowledges that the capacity for great courage and self-sacrifice can be found in all of us. Ultimately, I think this is what makes a standout of any fantasy hero or heroine."

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