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Paladin of Souls: A Novel Hardcover – September 23, 2003

Book 2 of 3 in the Chalion Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this sequel to The Curse of Chalion (2001), rich in sumptuous detail and speculative theology, dowager royina Ista Dy Baocia undertakes a pilgrimage to ease her soul-and finds instead that in Chalion, Bujold's handsomely crafted fantasy world ruled by Five Gods "just around some strange corner of perception," a more dangerous fate awaits than she could ever have imagined. Swordplay and sorcery sweep sensitive, sensible 40-year-old Ista into Chalion's border stronghold of Porifors, where enemy Roknari incursions and demons from the Fifth God's hell threaten Ista's realm, held precariously at bay by the charismatic Arhys dy Lutez. Ista's romantic quest to save Arhys and his magnetic half-brother, Illvin, teems with equal parts of unearthly magic and down-to-earth quasi-medieval lore. Despite an occasional lapse into adolescent angst and spurts of superficial dialogue, high fantasy fans should thrill at Ista's spiritual perils, while horse admirers of all ages should savor even Ista's saddle sores. This engaging installment of Chalion's mythical history whets the appetite for new marvels yet to come. FYI: Bujold has won both Hugo and Nebula awards.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The eagerly awaited sequel to The Curse of Chalion (2001) continues the story of the world of Chalion, though not strictly of Chalion, after Iselle and Bergon have defeated one lot of enemies and celebrated their wedding. Paladin of Souls focuses, however, on Iselle's mother, Ista. Three years free of the madness that kept her imprisoned in her family's castle, Ista is finally released from her last remaining duties by the death of her mother. She undertakes a pilgrimage, but doesn't get far before she is overtaken by trouble, sorrow, need, and a host of other adversities. Chalion is in trouble again, thanks to the plots, counterplots, machinations, and follies of men and of gods, and Ista is perforce on the front lines. Bujold couldn't characterize badly if threatened with a firing squad, and what really keeps one turning the pages is the fascinating cast of characters--not that the plot is anything to sneeze at. Only dedicated addicts of Bujold's Vorkosigan saga will be miffed that she has given us this book rather than that sf series' next installment, for Bujold is also head and shoulders above the ruck of current fantasists as well as science-fictionists. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Bujold, Lois Mcmaster
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; 1 edition (September 23, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380979020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380979028
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,098,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Also, if you like books with strong female characters.
Leighland Feinman
All in all PALADIN OF SOULS is a wonderful story with interesting characters and an intriguing plot.
Phillip B. Spotts
I found first half of the book a little slow and Ista initially difficult to like.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

132 of 136 people found the following review helpful By David Roy on November 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of Lois McMaster Bujold since I was entranced by her Miles Vorkosigan series a couple of years ago. She has an interesting way of telling a story, combining fascinating characters with the ability to write action when the story calls for it. I was sure that she could write fantasy as well, and she proved it with The Curse of Chalion. Now, she has written a sequel of sorts, called Paladin of Souls. And once again, she hits the perfect mix.
Paladin of Souls is a sequel only in the sense that the events in the book take place after the previous book. Ista was the mother of two of the main characters in The Curse of Chalion, and she didn't figure that prominently in it. Bujold takes her, a relatively undeveloped character except where the curse was concerned, and gives her a living vibrancy. The reader can see why she went mad before, and why she is still seen as slightly insane. But we can also see the inner workings of her mind, and see why she is like this and how she can sometimes use it to her benefit. When one is touched by the gods, one is not unaffected, and Ista shows that effect. She's in her 40s, most of her family dead and her daughter off ruling the kingdom, and she's bored. She's also one of the only people who know the whole truth of what happened, and what lengths her family had taken to try and remove the curse. The entire book is told from her viewpoint, so the reader also gets to see her reaction to the events and the people around her.
Ista's not the only wonderful character, though. All of the characters in the book are three-dimensional, unless the book doesn't call them to be.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A. Trotter VINE VOICE on May 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books with so much subtext it could float a battleship. There's a straight story on the top, very plain and not at all simple. Then under that, there's Lois McMaster Bujold with her literary stick stirring up your brain, getting all these odd thoughts to come floating out. As she always does.
On the straightforeward bit, this is the story of a woman who was a minor character from The Curse of Chalion. She's spent the past many years of her life in a deep despair, a depression and suicidal misery caused by a curse and exacerbated once the curse was lifted by the death of her son. She's watched over by kind, loving people who give her no freedom, no privacy and no trust. She has no love; even her daughter is far away and almost a stranger to her, and no prospects of friendship in her situation.
So she goes on a pilgramage, to get out and get away; an excuse but also an invocation of the Gods of Chalion. And as the Curse proved, the Gods of Chalion are listening... The Bastard God answers her with some very interesting problems.
So that's the straightforeward bit. It's how she does it that you have to see, because her writing is so amazing.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Wideman on January 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
An excellent story, well told, about a middle-aged woman's victory over her demons from her younger years. This book has it all, adventure, romance, mystery, horror, and wisdom. It is refreshing to read a story around a character who models adult behavior, thinking, and self-control. The story is an action-packed, engaging fantasy adventure/mystery replete with magic, demons, and chivalry without the pitfalls of poor writing and generic plots that plague the fantasy genre.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Phillip B. Spotts on September 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
PALADIN OF SOULS is not really a sequel to Ms. Bujold's masterpiece THE CURSE OF CHALION, instead it should be considered a companion piece, another part of the Chalion anthology. Why not a sequel? After all it does pick up just three years after the end of CURSE, many of the same characters are found in both, even the story line from CURSE is the basis for PALADIN'S. Sounds like a sequel doesn't it? Amazingly enough it really isn't. To begin with the story center has shifted away from Iselle, Bergon and of course Cazaril to the now curse free Dowager Royina Ista, the mother of the ruling queen. In fact the principal characters from CURSE are rarely mentioned in PALADIN, it is the secondary characters who now become the main protagonists.
The story revolves around Royina Ista, now free from her gods induced madness, and her attempt to break free from the confining restrictions imposed by her high station. Into her orbit fall the dy Gura brothers Ferda and Foix (one of my favorite characters from the CURSE) and a courier girl turned lady in waiting, Liss. In fact the twist of focus away from the original characters in CURSE is so dramatic and totally fresh that it becomes a completely new story, admittedly set within the familial universe of Chalion.
A wonderful story that is a pleasure to read? Yes, absolutely! Without flaw? No. One of its major problems is the pacing, it is very slow to start, almost ponderous. But after the first hundred pages it starts to click and begins to flow quite nicely. Its second major flaw is the constant delving into the composition and intricacies of Chalion's religion, overly much I think.
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