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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Fans of Jacqueline Carey's shelf-bending fantasy trilogy Kushiel's Legacy (Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, and Kushiel's Avatar) will rejoice in the author's return to the exotic and unabashedly erotic realm of Terre d'Ange, with Kushiel's Scion, the first book in a trilogy chronicling the life of Imriel de la Courcel. This sequence follows Imriel (the foster son of Phèdre nó Delaunay and her consort, Joscelin Verreuil), as he comes of age and sturggles to find his true self -- even at the risk of unearthing a heritage fraught with infamy.
After being saved from a childhood of slavery and torture, Imriel was adopted by champions Phèdre and Joscelin. Now, a teenager, he's a handsome prince -- but in a court steeped in deadly intrigue, he can never live down the notoriety of being the birth son of Melisande Shahrizai, a sadistic villainess who nearly destroyed the realm. Imriel decides to leave home to study abroad as an anonymous student, but in his quest for wisdom he comes face to face with his deadliest adversary: himself.
While the Kushiel novels are best known for their wild, sadomasochistic sensuality, it's almost disrespectful to look at the saga simply as erotic fantasy; it's so much more than that. Marshaling dozens of complex and interconnecting themes -- political and social conflicts, deep-seated cultural differences, honor, faith, the importance of family and friendship, existentialism vs. predestination, etc. -- Carey has created a richly historied and vividly described medieval realm that readers will not soon forget. There's a reason why literally hundreds of fans have tattooed themselves with the briar rose marques described in the novels (www.jacquelinecarey.com/gallery_tats.htm) -- and like those tattoos, this intense and disturbingly beautiful saga will stay with readers for a long, long time. Paul Goat Allen