by Jacqueline Carey
Tor, April, 2002.
Hardcover, 704 pages.
Phèdre no Delauney is many things to many people. A spy, a courtesan, an anguisette (she finds pain pleasurable), and now a noblewoman, Phèdre rose from slave to the halls of power in adventures detailed in the first book in this unusual series, Kushiel's Dart. Now known as the Comtesse de Montreve, Phèdre returns to the court of Queen Ysandre, in order to unmask a traitorous plot to dethrone her beloved queen. Suspicious that her old enemy, Melisande Shahrozai has resurfaced, Phèdre uses her considerable beauty and talent to find a traitor and save both her queen and Terre D'Ange, her beloved country.
Phèdre no Delauney is a most unusual heroine. She finds pain pleasurable, which leads to some pretty kinky after-hours entertainment. Phèdre is sworn to the service of the god Naamah, and she uses her courtesan's wiles to great effect, both in her professional and personal life. Phèdre's world is an exotic, sensual and violent one, reminiscent of the High Renaissance, but with some interesting and unusual religious twists ("Love as thou wilt" as a guiding precept, for example). The descriptions of the settings are vivid and lush, and the characters are well-drawn. This is a fascinating, dark and erotic series which will appeal to fans of Anne Rice.
Kushiel's Chosen is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the June, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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