Message From The Author
The World of Kushiel's Chosen
by Jacqueline Carey
In Terre d'Ange, sunlight filters through the olive groves, grapes ripen on the vine and lavender blooms in fragrant clouds. It is here that Elua and his Companions made their home, for where else did the people welcome the wandering deity in song, opening their arms to greet him as he crossed the fields? Nowhere. Nowhere else. And so it came to pass that Blessed Elua dwelt here for a time, and gave unto his people one commandment.
Love as thou wilt.
Thus was a nation begotten; luxuriant, sophisticated, proud, passionate, decadent. The D'Angeline people, in whose mortal veins runs the blood of fallen angels, are all these things. Love takes many forms, and in Terre d'Ange, all is permitted.
And yet, even here, Phèdre ns Delaunay is a rarityan anguissette, "Kushiel's Chosen," marked by a scarlet mote in her left eye. Among Elua's Companions, it is Kushiel who administers the cruel mercy of justice, and it is Phèdre's dubious gift to find pleasure in the depths of pain.
As a writer, I adore her. It would be difficult to conceive of
a more unlikely heroine for an epic fantasy, or a greater creative challenge. But that's part of the joy romance and fantasy alike represent: triumph over impossible odds. When it works, it's glorious.
In Kushiel's Dart, Phèdre is betrayed and sold into indentured servitude then trained as a courtesan and spy, which leads her
to possess a secret that will destroy Terre d'Ange unless she can prevent it. She has only one ally; Joscelin Verreuil, the acerbic warrior-priest assigned to protect her. Deadly with a sword and beautiful
to behold, he is also a Cassiline Brother who has sworn a vow of celibacy and despises everything Phèdre stands for.
Of course, that changes by the end. In this series, I wanted to explore the idea of love as a divine force, capable of acting upon
the world and all who dwell within it. While a strain of dark sensuality permeates the books, it's love born of courage, loyalty and
self-sacrifice that emerges transcendent
...only to face new perils in KUSHIEL'S CHOSEN (released this month), when Phèdre accepts a challenge from the Machiavellian villainess Melisande Shahrizai to find a traitor at the heart of the realm. But the stakes are higher than she knows, and what begins as a sophisticated game of intrigue turns into a desperate race to unmask a fatal conspiracy.
La Serenissma, Hellas, Illyriathe realms through which Phèdre's adventure unwindsare as familiar as places from a dream, half-remembered upon waking. The Kushiel trilogy is an alternate history in the broadest sense of the term, reworking the canvas of the past with sweeping strokes to blend what-might-have-been with what-never-was. Each is a stand-alone novel, written within an overall story arc to be concluded in a forthcoming third volume, Kushiel's Avatar. They contain all the elements of epic fantasy that I love: intrigue, high adventure, swordplay, sweeping battles and feats of impossible valor. There are strange gods, exotic lands and religious mysteries.
Indeed, what magic is present derives from a simple premise: that the mythos that governs Terre d'Ange is true in a literal sense. When the will of its gods is made manifest, those mortals whom they have chosen must answer to it. Courtesan or no, Phèdre's destiny is written in the scarlet mote in her eye, and as she is "Kushiel's Chosen," she is the instrument of his justice. And the warrior-priest Joscelin, sworn to the service of Elua's Companion, Cassiel, is destined to be her consort and protector, even at the cost of his own vows.
Throughout it allintrigue, high adventure, sublime pleasurelove's greatest obstacles are those that come from within. These are rich books, densely plotted, with cunning gambits that take the length of the novel to play out. Yet at the core, it's the human element that drives the story as Phèdre and Joscelin struggle to make sense of their relationship, the conflicting desires that push them apart, and the undeniable passion that draws them together.
All of this, while the fate of a realm hangs in the balance.
It's not easy being a god's chosenglorious destinies carry a price. But in the end, the redemptive power of love pays for all.
For more information, sample chapters and a tattoo giveaway offer, visit my website at www.jacquelinecarey.com. Write to me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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