The Grass King's Concubine

( 1 )

Overview

Kari Sperring's first novel was a finalist for the Crawford Award, a Tiptree Award Honor Book, a LOCUS Recommended First Novel, and the winner of the Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer. Now she returns to the same amazing and atmospheric world with an entirely new story set several hundred years after the earth-shaking events of Living With Ghosts.

When a wealthy young woman, obsessed with a childhood vision of a magical Shining Palace, sets out with her true love to ...

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The Grass King's Concubine

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Overview

Kari Sperring's first novel was a finalist for the Crawford Award, a Tiptree Award Honor Book, a LOCUS Recommended First Novel, and the winner of the Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer. Now she returns to the same amazing and atmospheric world with an entirely new story set several hundred years after the earth-shaking events of Living With Ghosts.

When a wealthy young woman, obsessed with a childhood vision of a magical Shining Palace, sets out with her true love to search for a legendary land, she discovers the devastated WorldBelow - the realm of the Grass King - and the terrifying Cadre, who take her prisoner, and demand she either restore the king's concubine... or replace her.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the World Below, the court of the elemental spirit known as the Grass King slowly dries up. In the World Above, heiress Aude Pèlerin des Puiz searches for the origins of her family's wealth and discovers a desiccated "vast floor of thin gray grass" where rice paddies once thrived. The droughts are connected and only Aude can set them right. This imaginative steampunk fantasy is populated by charming characters—the bookish, naïve, and impulsive Aude, committed to social and economic justice; Jehan Favre, the soldier she loves; and the twin ferret sisters whose story is linked to Aude's—and Sperring's imagery is rich and striking, as with the Grass King's court with air "that tasted of spice cake and fresh bread and oranges." Unfortunately, the plot and writing ramble and lurch unevenly, and the result can be as vague as Aude's half-remembered childhood glimpse of the magical court. (Aug.)
Ideomancer Reviews
[The Grass King's Concubine] entirely delighted me. And, by turns, impressed me.... In many ways, this is a meditative novel, playfully serious, lucidly written.
LitPick Book Reviews
[The Grass King's Concubine's] Indian-like atmosphere and exquisitely detailed land create an unusual and enthralling world that traps the reader.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756407551
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/7/2012
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 1,323,783
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Kari Sperring has been writing as long as she can remember and completed her first novel at the age of eight (twelve pages long and about ponies). She started writing fantasy in her teens, inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien, Alexandre Dumas and Thomas Mallory. She holds a B.A and a PhD in medieval history from Cambridge University, and as Kari Maund has written and published five books and many articles on Celtic and Viking history and co-authored a book on the history and real people behind her favourite novel, The Three Musketeers. She’s been a barmaid, a tax officer, a P.A. and a university lecturer, and has found that her fascinations, professional or hobby-level, feed and expand into her fiction. Living With Ghosts evolved from her love of France and its history, ghosts, mysteries, Celtic culture, strange magic and sword fights. Her novel-in-progress has even found a creative role for bookkeeping. She’s British and lives in Cambridge, England.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 10, 2013

    Extraordinary, literate fantasy

    If you haven’t read Kari Sperring’s debut novel, Living With Ghosts, drop what you’re doing and read it now. If you have, you know that her work is complex, thoughtful, compassionate and literate without the least pretentiousness. She has the uncanny ability to take five abrupt turns while maintaining the seamless integrity of the story. We go from a world that feels like pre-Revolutionary France (or Industrial Revolution England) to the steppes of Central Asia to an underground realm of elemental nature spirits and it’s all a piece, it all fits. Some of her characters are sympathetic, others are incomprehensible. By far my favorites are “the twins,” two oversized ferrets who can and reluctantly do take human form and keep forgetting their clothes. It’s a thick book and that’s a good thing, for it is to be savored.

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