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The Cursed Hardcover – April 18, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; 1st edition (April 18, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345389514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345389510
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,963,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This pleasant empire-building fantasy follows Gwin Nien Solith, an Innkeeper with the proverbial heart of gold, through her various political troubles, romantic alliances and fantastic escapades until she discovers her destiny. Gwin lives in the former empire of Quolia, whose inhabitants desperately await a Renewer, someone with the strength to bind together the local kingdoms being ransacked and decimated by petty squabbling and outbreaks of plague. Gwin has decided to take one of the Cursed?victims of the "star sickness" who have developed psychic powers?under her wing: a girl who has been transformed into an Ivielscath (one who can cure, or kill, with a touch). She also meets other Cursed, including Shoolscaths (who live backwards through time) and Awailscaths (who are shapechangers). When Gwin is threatened with a disastrous political marriage and the destruction of her livelihood, she escapes into the aged arms of powerful farmer and patriarch Bulion Tharn, foreseen to be the Renewer. Together, Bulion and Gwin must bring the reviled and feared Cursed to safety among their own kind and forge a new and better life for all their people. While his prose is pedestrian, Duncan (A Handful of Men) offers an amusing and well-proportioned blend of religion, prophecy and magic, as well as a touch of intellectual good humor in a lively, earthy tale.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

After losing her husband and children to the dreaded "star sickness," which leaves its few survivors cursed with strange, uncontrollable powers, innkeeper Gwin Nien Solith casts her lot with a semibarbaric family whose ancestors once terrorized the old Qolian empire and whose legends tell of the coming of a powerful hero, the Renewer. Fantasy series writer Duncan (The Living God, LJ 4/15/94) embarks on a new epic set in a world filled with unpredictable magics, fickle gods, and warring kingdoms. The author's unique vision reinfuses an often cliched genre with freshness and gentle wit. A strong purchase for fantasy collections.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Dave Duncan is a prolific writer of fantasy and science fiction, best known for his fantasy series, particularly The Seventh Sword, A Man of His Word, and The King's Blades. He is both a founding and honorary lifetime member of SF Canada. Dave and his wife Janet, his in-house editor and partner for over fifty years, live in Victoria, British Columbia. They have three children and four grandchildren. Visit his blog and webpage: www.daveduncan.com

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I recommend this book to all avid fantasy readers.
C. Keane
Any author who can leave his readers wanting more is a outstanding one.
"lisalou"
Duncan's characters are vivid and their dialogue witty and fun to read.
Margaret Johnston

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Miranda Wrights on October 15, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Cursed is a great one-shot read. It's a little confusing at first but once you understand more about the story you just keep reading; wondering what's gonna happen next; who you're gonna meet next; why was that moment so important? Personally, I thought it was a wonderful book and I just kept going back and reading the parts I like the most, found fascinating, didn't quite get until later. It's one of those books you'll think about later and just want to pick up and read through again. The Cursed, absolutely loved them. The tragedy, the quirkiness of their personality, the gift and curse. If you like a good book with a great plot I highly suggest this one. I've reread it four times and I still keep thinking about it and wanting more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Johnston VINE VOICE on June 25, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Many have died from the star sickness; those who survive become Cursed, the holders of mysterious, double-edged powers conferred by the stars, or fates. It is unwise to have contact with the Cursed and illegal to shelter them, yet after the death of her husband and children from the sickness, innkeeper Gwin Nien Solith does just that, taking in a girl cursed with the power to heal or kill. When farmer Bulion Tharn and some of his family come to Gwin's inn, a quest begins which will change the destinies of Gwin, Bulion, and their whole world.

I had a hard time getting into this, but I'm glad I kept on. The worldbuilding is excellent; the curses and their ramifications and implications are very well worked out. Duncan's characters are vivid and their dialogue witty and fun to read. There are many hints of prophecy and destiny, but he manages the plot adroitly so that there are still surprises along the way.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "lisalou" on May 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dave Duncan is a legend in creating completely different worlds and having you believe in them! The only thing I found wrong with this book was that I wanted more. His characters are lush and unique and many times I find myself wanting to know the whole story, not just the book's worth. Any author who can leave his readers wanting more is a outstanding one.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Keane on February 22, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Oh Dave Duncan. Why do you do this to me? I must have singlehandedly made you a millionaire author by now, just based on my own purchases of your excellent stories. More importantly, how do you do it? You have become the yardstick against which I measure the worth of other authors. You are both prolific and supremely talented.

Sure, there are other authors out there who write a good book. But it's also usually a long time between drinks as they labor furiously into their keyboards, dripping equal, agonized measures of sweat and blood. Or, (I'm looking at you, RJ and GRRM), they just lose interest and leave us hanging for years as they visit every comicon in the world, twice.

You, on the other hand, Dave Duncan, it seems that you sit down on a Saturday afternoon, rip out a highly readable, brilliantly constructed novel, have a beer then watch the rest of the game. Every book of yours I've read has deeply constructed characters that I care about, a storyline that transports me to strange alternate worlds (or the far distant future, having just finished Pock's World) and your rate of delivery of new work exceeds that of any other quality author that I read. You might just be the perfect author for recreational readers.

Despite the somewhat off-putting cover art (yes, I do judge books by the cover sometimes), The Cursed is an excellent read. It's a great adventure on the surface with a good dose of commentary underneath. I deeply cared about the characters and for a while it looked like this was setting up to be the first in a series, which I would have welcomed. I guess that's not definitively off the table, but the book was conclusively finished and in the absence of a follow-up book stands alone without issue.

I recommend this book to all avid fantasy readers. Also check out Dave Duncan's catalog and tell me I'm not imagining things.
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By Oldmannot on August 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I always like Dave Duncan's stories. They are always well written and well edited so the writing is never a distraction from the story.I wouldn't say it's major literature, but it is entertaining fantasy.
It takes more than a few pages to realize that the cursed are people who have contracted a disease that changes them and adds strange new capabilities, some useful, some not. They are cursed by the general population and feared, but some try to use them.
The heroine, Gwin Solith, initially runs an inn, but has to abandon it and joins Bullion Tharn. Their plans go awry and they find they are at the center of a movement to resist invading armies. Gwin finds she has the capability to influence the Cursed to get them to do what she wants - apparently she herself is a Cursed, but a unifying strong one destined to have an important role in history.
The concept of the story is fascinating and well presented. The characters are strong, well defined and generally likable. However, the vast invading army, the Karpana, is never well defined and their motivation remains obscure, but this lack does not affect the story. My one negative observation is that the conclusion is rushed and very brief, skipping over many years and many probably interesting events.
I recommend this if you want an entertaining read that's not too heavy.
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