Song for the Basilisk [NOOK Book]


From the World Fantasy Award-winning author of The Bards of Bone Plain.

Something half-woke in him, and he froze on the threshold, seeing misshapen faces billow in the flames.

As a child, Rook had been taken in by the bards of Luly, and raised as one of their own. Of his past he knew nothing—except faint ...
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Song for the Basilisk

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From the World Fantasy Award-winning author of The Bards of Bone Plain.

Something half-woke in him, and he froze on the threshold, seeing misshapen faces billow in the flames.

As a child, Rook had been taken in by the bards of Luly, and raised as one of their own. Of his past he knew nothing—except faint memoires of fire and death that he'd do anything to forget.

But nightmares, and a new threat to the island that had become his own, would not let him escape the dreadful fate of his true family. Haunted by the music of the bards, he left the only home he knew to wander the land of the power-hungry Basilisk who had destroyed his family. And perhaps, finally, to find a future in the fulfillment of his forgotten destiny...
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In most of McKillip's novels (Winter Rose, etc.) and short stories, this veteran author, a World Fantasy Award winner (for Forgotten Beasts of Eld, 1975), uses words in precisely the same way her mages do, to shape images and create fantastic visions where none previously existed. Sometimes the images are grotesque and violent, but more frequently they are ethereal and exquisite. McKillip's new novel is no exception. In it, a royal child escapes fire and certain execution by hiding in the ashes of the castle fireplace. Flame and death fill his mind and shape his thoughts so he is invisible to his enemies. After he is discovered, his rescuers rename him "Caladrius. After the bird whose song means death," and send him to the bards living on Luly, the music school on a rock at the end of the world. There he is called Rook. He masters the picochet, a peasant instrument, loves Sirina and begets Hollis, a son. Thirty-seven years pass and his family's enemy, Arioso Pellior, patriarch of the house of Basilisk, again reaches out his hand to crush any remaining members of the house of Tourmalyne. Rook remembers that his name is Griffin Tourmalyne and he journeys home. There he becomes an impetus for revolution and an inspiration for the royal opera, which draws the novel's principals together for a performance before the Basilisk and his family. McKillip is at the top of her form in this sweeping story about the redeeming powers of kindness and the potentially deadly beauty of music. (Sept.)
VOYA - Donna Scanlon
After a child of a noble house witnesses and survives the massacre of his family, he is taken away to the lonely rock of Luly where he is raised among the bards and buries his memories in his study of music. Renamed Rook by the bards, he later takes the name Caladrius, which was given to him by his great-uncle before he was sent away. Thirty-seven years later, Caladrius returns to the city, unable to deny his past or his destiny. Surrounded by new and loyal friends, he has the strength to confront the man who destroyed his family: Arioso, Prince of Berylon, also called the Basilisk. McKillip narrates her tale in luminous language loaded with vivid and precise imagery. She has an uncanny ear for the rhythm and pace underlying the words. The story unfolds slowly but does not drag as the reader is drawn relentlessly into the plot. The ending may surprise some; Arioso's daughter Luna, thought to be his heir in spirit if not in law, proves to be Caladrius's saving grace. Luna's actions are not out of character, however. All of McKillip's characters are carefully developed, and plot and characterization are carefully and tightly woven. The book is physically appealing, smaller than most, with an elegant and attractive cover by Kinuko Craft. Not only will fans of McKillip's previous books flock to read this, but the Renaissance-like society may appeal to historical fiction readers as well. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being better written, Broad general YA appeal, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12 and adults).
Library Journal
A young man denies his past for a life as a teacher of bards until a chain of events too compelling to ignore plunges him once more into a confrontation with the Prince of Berylon, who slaughtered an entire noble family to gain his throne. The author of Winter Rose (LJ 7/96) weaves a lyrical story of passion and revenge set in a Renaissance-like world where music and magic are one and the same. McKillip's luminous prose and compelling characters combine to produce a masterwork of style and substance. Highly recommended for most fantasy collections.
Paul Di Filippo
Luckily, we have writers like Patricia McKillip to remind us how to weave true tapestries of uncanny dreams...this is a book about speaking truth to power, about the worth of the individual and the family versus the weight and responsibilities of leadership.
Kirkus Reviews
Once the city of Berylon was benevolently ruled by Raven Tormalyne, until his rival, the ambitious Arioso Pellior, the Basilisk, burned Tormalyne Palace. Of all the family, only young Rook, cowering under the ashes in the fireplace, survived. Rook was sent to the remote island Luly, where he became a bard (poet/musician) and produced a son, Hollis, but could never bring himself to remember his heritage. Nearly 40 years later, young Griffin Tormalyne, a distant relative, arrives at Luly, forcing Rook to confront his past. So he travels into the magical hinterlands, where, after various adventures, he recovers his memory and some of his inherited magic powers. But when he returns to Luly, Griffin is dead and the school burned. The Basilisk, meantime, a master of subtle magics, trains his dragon-eyed daughter Luna to succeed him. Rook, arriving in Berylon, takes a job cataloguing old music manuscripts that the Basilisk recovered from ruined Tormalyne Palace, and acquires a magical pipe to use against the Basilisk. But there are further complications: relatives of Griffin are smuggling in weapons and plotting against the Basilisk; the Basilisk's plain, empty-headed daughter Damiet falls in love with Rook; Hollis shows up; and Rook finds himself strongly attracted to Luna, a magician more powerful than her father. Previous McKillip offerings (Winter Rose, 1996, etc.) have been charming, elegant wisps; this one, after a rather laborious start, presses forward with altogether more determination and substance: a significant improvement overall.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101662168
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/1/1999
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 1
  • Sales rank: 269,352
  • File size: 713 KB

Meet the Author

Patricia A. McKillip is a winner of the World Fantasy Award, and the author of numerous novels.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2002

    Disappointing Ending

    The book starts slowly, and the beginning does drag. Once the action starts moving, it is a good read. However, the ending is completely amiss for the characters as they were painted. I haven't been so let down with the ending of a book in many years.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2001

    Very Good

    This is an excellent book. The author always comes through with wonderful characters and solid plots. LOVED IT!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2000

    song for the basilisk

    Typical of her more recent fairy tales. Very good, but not a masterpiece like 'Winter Rose.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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