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The Hallowed Hunt

The Hallowed Hunt

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by Lois McMaster Bujold
     
 

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A magnificent epic tale of devotion, possession, obsession, and strange destiny from the author of the Hugo Award-winning

Paladin of Souls

Lois McMaster Bujold

The half-mad Prince Boleso has been slain by a noblewoman he had intended to defile -- and Lord Ingrey kin Wilfcliff must transport the body to its burial place and the

Overview

A magnificent epic tale of devotion, possession, obsession, and strange destiny from the author of the Hugo Award-winning

Paladin of Souls

Lois McMaster Bujold

The half-mad Prince Boleso has been slain by a noblewoman he had intended to defile -- and Lord Ingrey kin Wilfcliff must transport the body to its burial place and the accused killer, the Lady Ijada, to judgment. With the death of the old Hallow King imminent and the crown in play, the road they must travel together is a dangerous one. And though he is duty-bound to deliver his prisoner to an almost certain death, Ijada may be the only one Ingrey dares trust. For a monstrous malevolence holds the haunted lord in its sway -- and a great and terrible destiny has been bestowed upon him by the gods, the damned, and the dead.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The absorbing third installment in Bujold's epic fantasy series (after The Curse of Chalion and the Hugo-winning Paladin of Souls) links a disinherited swordsman hero with a beguiling damsel accused of murdering a royal prince in a land worshiping five gods, menaced by encroaching neighbors and swarming with ancient magic and lethal political intrigue. Lord Ingrey kin Wolfcliff, sent by the kingdom's sealmaster to fetch orphaned Lady Ijada to trial, soon learns they both unwillingly bear animal spirits received in forbidden power rites stretching centuries back into the primeval Weald. With the aged Hallow King now dying, Ingrey and Ijada journey toward the king's hall at Easthome, falling into a love that appears doomed, while Ingrey's powerful fey cousin, Lord Wencel, spins a cunning web of bloodthirsty ambition that binds them to him in an unholy trinity. Though the book's complicated magical-religious structure requires considerable suspension of disbelief, Bujold brings to life a multitude of convincing secondary characters, especially skaldic warrior-poet Prince Jokol and his ice bear, Fafa. Bujold's ability to sustain a breathless pace of action while preserving a heady sense of verisimilitude in a world of malignant wonders makes this big novel occasionally brilliant-and not a word too long. Agent, Eleanor Wood. (June 1) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Lord Ingrey kin Wolfcliff receives the assignment to escort the body of the late Prince Boleso, along with his apparent murderer, the orphaned Lady Ijada, to Kingstown to assist in quelling the political unrest threatening to erupt. With the impending death of the Hallow King and the succession in question, Ingrey must ascertain the truth behind Boleso's death to insure the survival of the kingdom and of the woman he has come to love. Bujold's third installment in her fantasy epic (after Paladin of Souls and The Curse of Chalion) bears testimony to the author's talent for creating inventive and appealing heroes and exotic worlds. Political intrigue, shamanic marriage, and dynastic drama combine for a topnotch addition to most fantasy collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/05.] Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061795978
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Series:
Chalion Series , #3
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
49,123
File size:
1 MB

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Read an Excerpt

The Hallowed Hunt

A Novel
By Lois Bujold

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Lois Bujold
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060574623

Chapter One

The Prince was dead.

Since the king was not, no unseemly rejoicing dared show in the faces of the men atop the castle gate. Merely, Ingrey thought, a furtive relief. Even that was extinguished as they watched Ingrey's troop of riders clatter under the gate's vaulting into the narrow courtyard. They recognized who he was -- and, therefore, who must have sent him.

Ingrey's sweat grew clammy under his leather jerkin in the damp dullness of the autumn morning. The chill seemed cupped within the cobbled yard, funneled down by the whitewashed walls. The lightly armed courier bearing the news had raced from the prince's hunting seat here at Boar's Head Castle to the hallow king's hall at Easthome in just two days. Ingrey and his men, though more heavily equipped, had made the return journey in scarcely more time. As a castle groom scurried to take his horse's bridle, Ingrey swung down and straightened his scabbard, fingers lingering only briefly on the reassuring coolness of his sword hilt.

The late Prince Boleso's housemaster, Rider Ulkra, appeared around the keep from wherever he'd been lurking when Ingrey's troop had been spied climbing the road. Stout, usually stolid, he was breathless now with apprehension and hurry. He bowed. "Lord Ingrey. Welcome. Will you take drink and meat?"

"I've no need. See to these, though." He gestured to the half dozen men who followed him. The troop's lieutenant, Rider Gesca, gave him an acknowledging nod of thanks, and Ulkra delivered men and horses into the hands of the castle servants.

Ingrey followed Ulkra up the short flight of steps to the thickplanked main doors. "What have you done so far?"

Ulkra lowered his voice. "Waited for instructions." Worry scored his face; the men in Boleso's service were not long on initiative at the best of times. "Well, we moved the body into the cool. We could not leave it where it was. And we secured the prisoner."

What sequence, for this unpleasant inspection? "I'll see the body first," Ingrey decided.

"Yes, my lord. This way. We cleared one of the butteries."

They passed through the cluttered hall, the fire in its cavernous fieldstone fireplace allowed to burn low, the few red coals halfhidden in the ashes doing nothing to improve the discomfort of the chamber. A shaggy deerhound, gnawing a bone on the hearth, growled at them from the shadows. Down a staircase, through a kitchen where a cook and scullions fell silent and made themselves small as they passed, down again into a chilly chamber ill lit by two small windows high in the rocky walls.

The little room was presently unfurnished but for two trestles, the boards laid across them, and the sheeted shape that lay silently upon the boards. Reflexively, Ingrey signed himself, touching forehead, lip, navel, groin, and heart, spreading his hand over his heart: one theological point for each of the five gods. Daughter-Bastard-Mother-Father-Son. And where were all of You when this happened?

As Ingrey waited for his eyes to adjust to the shadows, Ulkra swallowed, and said, "The hallow king -- how did he take the news?"

"It is hard to say," said Ingrey, with politic vagueness. "Sealmaster Lord Hetwar sent me."

"Of course."

Ingrey could read little in the housemaster's reaction, except the obvious, that Ulkra was glad to be handing responsibility for this on to someone else. Uneasily, Ulkra folded back the pale cloth covering his dead master. Ingrey frowned at the body.

Prince Boleso kin Stagthorne had been the youngest of the hallow king's surviving -- of the hallow king's sons, Ingrey corrected his thought in flight. Boleso was still a young man, for all he had come to his full growth and strength some years ago. Tall, muscular, he shared the long jaw of his family, masked with a short brown beard. The darker brown hair of his head was tangled now, and matted with blood. His booming energy was stilled; drained of it, his face lost its former fascination, and left Ingrey wondering how he had once been fooled into thinking it handsome. He moved forward, hands cradling the skull, probing the wound. Wounds. The shattered bone beneath the scalp gave beneath his thumbs' pressure on either side of a pair of deep lacerations, blackened with dried gore.

"What weapon did this?"

"The prince's own war hammer. It was on the stand with his armor, in his bedchamber."

"How very ... unexpected. To him as well." Grimly, Ingrey considered the fates of princes. All his short life, according to Hetwar, Boleso had been alternately petted and neglected by parents and servants both, the natural arrogance of his blood tainted with a precarious hunger for honor, fame, reward. The arrogance -- or was it the anxiety? -- had bloated of late to something overweening, desperately out of balance. And that which is out of balance ... falls.

The prince wore a short open robe of worked wool, lined with fur, blood-splashed. He must have been wearing it when he'd died. Nothing more. No other recent wounds marked his pale skin. When the housemaster said they had waited for instructions, Ingrey decided, he had understated the case. The prince's retainers had evidently been so benumbed by the shocking event, they had not even dared wash or garb the corpse. Grime darkened the folds of Boleso's body ... no, not grime. Ingrey ran a finger along a groove of chill flesh, and stared warily at the smear of color, dull blue and stamen yellow and, where they blended, a sickly green. Dye, paint, some colored powder? The dark fur of the inner robe, too, showed faint smears.

Ingrey straightened, and his eye fell on what he had at first taken for a bundle of furs laid along the far wall. He stepped closer and knelt.

It was a dead leopard. Leopardess, he amended, turning the beast partly over. The fur was fine and soft, fascinating beneath his hands. He traced the cold, curving ears, the stiff white whiskers, the pattern of dark whorls upon golden silk ...

Continues...


Excerpted from The Hallowed Hunt by Lois Bujold Copyright © 2005 by Lois Bujold. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

One of the most respected writers in the field of speculative fiction, Lois McMaster Bujold burst onto the scene in 1986 with Shards of Honor, the first of her tremendously popular Vorkosigan Saga novels. She has received numerous accolades and prizes, including two Nebula Awards for best novel (Falling Free and Paladin of Souls), four Hugo Awards for Best Novel (Paladin of Souls, The Vor Game, Barrayar, and Mirror Dance), as well as the Hugo and Nebula Awards for her novella The Mountains of Mourning. Her work has been translated into twenty-one languages. The mother of two, Bujold lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Hallowed Hunt 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Other reviewers have covered the plot outline enough, I won't repeat it here. For the first time ever I felt I've read a magical story in which the magic and the fantastical were truly explained. I could believe in this world, it's people, the culture and, yes, it's religion too. Some reviewers have either criticized the religion Bujold created for her stories or seem confused or uncertain why she bothered at all. But, in fact, Bujold writes to also satisfy the intellect and knows one can't create people and cultures and leave out religion (s) -- in fact, one description of humankind is (to paraphrase) homo religiosos. It is believable, sophisticated (not simply 'the gods' with funny names) and well within the parameters of what a people might truly come to experience. Besides, where do religion and magic touch, overlap, or fight if you're living in the middle of both? But, being a fantasy and therefore having to include magic, this is where Bujold really shines and gives a read which is not only exciting, full of real people and places, romance, horror, and the necessary good vs. evil, but does so in an adult way which should satisfy the most finicky reader. She doesn't write about some fantastic event, leaving us wondering 'But HOW.' She, during the course of the story, explains HOW -- at least to the degree anyone can describe HOW and where, when, who. In case I'm making The Hallowed Hunt sound dry, believe me there's enough excitement, good old fashioned swashbuckling, fast-paced surprises and mystery to satisfy anyone wanting to be caught up in a real page- turning heart-thumper. Now that I know this book is the 3rd in a series, I've gone back to the first book and already realize THH wasn't a one shot wonder, but that Bujold deserves all the accolades and honors heaped on her. Read this beauty. Finish with a deep sigh of satisfaction and hunger for more,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story has a well observed premise and a masterful plot to make it a gripping. Fine dilaogue and descriptions made the story outstanding. This is a story that I am glad I read. Like in Ngoko's Folly, I got thrilled until the last page and had to reflect on it afterwards.
janedit More than 1 year ago
Lois McMaster Bujold is best known for writing science fiction, but her fantasy novels are well worth reading too. The Hallowed Hunt is the third of a set of novels, all with different characters and plots, but set in the same universe. The lead characters, Ingrey and Ijada, are well matched, and the supporting characters provide depth and/or comic relief. The underlying theology (five gods) may confuse some readers, especially if they have not read the other books, particularly The Curse of Chalion. Another appropriate title for The Hallowed Hunt might have been Spirit Warriors, as the characters struggle with the power and control of animal spirits they possess/are possessed by.
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fleecat More than 1 year ago
I found it very exciting and well written.It kept us in suspense and wanting more.Felicea
Guest More than 1 year ago
A competent court officer sent to investigate the strange circumstances surrounding a prince¿s death finds the woman accused to be much more than he imagined. The strange circumstances grow stranger as the man charged with her transport across country for delivery into the hands of justice discovers there is more to himself than he had imagined as well. It seems that the difficulties surrounding this case will not resolve themselves easily, not without divine intervention and the revelation of ancient secrets. This is the first of Lois McMaster Bujold's books I have read and I am very impressed with her writing. You do not read one of her books, you enter her world. The mythical world of Chalion. In a few words, she is able to brush characters of unique human proportion in meticulous detail. She sets these characters into swirls of political intrigue within this fantasy world from the Middle Ages and puts them on collision course with supernatural forces. Of course it all leads to a romance of superhuman proportions and a clash of titanic spiritual powers. Once you accept the theological construct in her world of five gods, and some may find this difficult, the story is both realistic and compelling. She applies the spiritual fantasy consistently and with an even hand as in earlier books of Chalion. This is not a book for the squeamish and some may be disturbed by the use of animals that is depicted, but if one cannot put evil into a story of good verses evil, then what is the point? I¿m not generally a fan of fantasy, preferring to keep my stories closer to the real world, but Lois has captured me as a reader with her use of description and subtlety and made me wonder what might be possible if she turned her hand to other genres. But Chalion, no doubt, requires further exploration. I would recommend this book to anyone desiring to read for escape and great entertainment. I would not recommend it to young readers or those not morally or spiritually well grounded, lest they try to bring pieces of that world back into ours.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Hallowed Hunt is a beautiful and fast-paced fantasy and sci-fi story filled with action, adventure and mystery. The reader gets thrilled until the last page.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After the prince is murdered, his killer is easily found, apparently anyway. Lady Injada struck out in self defense to prevent her own defilement or to keep from becoming a human sacrifice. Yet, if she had died, her lot might have been easier. Now possessed by an animal spirit, she finds her greatest ally in the man whose duty it is to bring her to justice, Lord Ingrey. Like her, his soul has to make room for an animal that torments him. Only by learning more about these creatures inside of them and others can Ingrey and Injada stop evil, find peace, and be able to freely love. **** The patient reader will find a complex story that covers a lot of ground. Since it is the third book in a series, those unfamiliar with that series might be well advised to read the other two books first. Having not read those two books, I can not be certain of this. This is certainly not the standard tale involving a human who is part animal. Ms. Bujold does exhibit originality. ****
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent book but not as good as the other two set in the same world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Hallowed Hunt is a beautiful and fast-paced fantasy and sci-fi story filled with action, adventure and mystery. Like Heart Stroke, Irresistible Forces, Usurper and Others, The Shadow of Saganami, the reader gets thrilled until the last page.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Lord Ingrey Kin Wolfcliff is dispatched by his employer to bring back the body of the murdered Prince Boleso to the capital city of Easthome for the funeral. He is also to bring back the royal¿s killer Lady Ijada who claims self-defense as he tried to rape her and was prepared to sacrifice her in a black magical rite. Instead, she conked him on the head and the spirit of the leopard he killed entered her body when she touched the dying prince.................... Ingrey knows all about animal spirits inhabiting humans as he is possessed by a wolf in a rite that was conducted by his father. On the way back to the capital where the hallows king is dying, Ingrey is attracted to his prisoner but finds himself compelled to kill her. The geas is broken by a powerful sorcerer and they make it safely to Easthome. Ingrey spies on Earl Wencil because the people in power are afraid that he will try to usurp the rightful heir, Prince Biast. Little do any of them know that Wencil¿s plan for Ingrey involves the old magics outlawed when the Weald was invaded by the Darthacan Quintarians who worshipped five gods and forced their religion on the conquered people................................ Ingrey grows into his acceptance of his wolf spirit and he is helped by Lady Ijada who accepts the spirit leopard that was thrust into her. She has a role to play in the final working of the weald magic one that could cost her life or that of Ingrey if she falters in her convictions. Brilliant characterizations, a fast paced and exciting storyline and a villain it is hard to hate make THE HALLOWED HUNT a fantastic epic fantasy worthy of a Hugo or a Nebula Award nomination......................... Harriet Klausner