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The Dark Queen: A Novel (The Dark Queen Saga) Paperback – March 29, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When a wounded captain of the Navarre army arrives on Faire Isle in 1572 and calls for an audience with Daughter of the Earth (aka healer, or witch) Ariane Cheney, he provokes the wrath of the eponymous queen of France, Catherine de Medici, in this readable historical romance by the author of The Bride Finder. The captain's queen, Jeanne of Navarre, has second thoughts about marrying off her son to Catherine's daughter (a union arranged to smooth troubled Catholic-Protestant relations); the next day, she's dead. Ariane reluctantly agrees to help the captain prove that Catherine murdered Jeanne with a cursed pair of gloves, although the healer has plenty on her plate already, what with caring for her two younger sisters, the innocent Mirabelle and the conniving Gabrielle, and fending off the advances of her new neighbor, the lusty, muscular Comte de Renard. As Ariane investigates the magic gloves, the Dark Queen's soldiers prowl the island, witch hunters seek their prey, Renard woos his reluctant would-be bride with the aid of an enchanted ring and the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre looms. Carroll breaks no new ground in this overlong tale, but readers in the mood for a marriage plot spiced with magic should find that this one does the trick. Agent, Andrea Cirillo. (Apr.)

Review

“An intoxicating brew of poignant romance, turbulent history, and mesmerizing magic.”
–Karen Harper, author of The Fyre Mirror

“Utterly perfect–rich, compelling, and full of surprises. A fabulous, feminist fantasy from a masterful storyteller that’s bound to be one of the best books of the year!”
–Elizabeth Grayson, author of Moon in the Water
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Product Details

  • Series: The Dark Queen Saga (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (March 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345437969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345437969
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #811,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Kristi Ahlers on July 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Ms. Carroll has deftly woven history, and romance into a story that is unusual but appealing. She has taken real life characters such as Catherine de Medici, and given her truly center stage as a player in the conflict that beseiges our heroine, Ariane Cheney and her path to her destiny. Her destiny is none other than Comte Renard.

Ariane has become the Lady of the Isle after the death of her mother. Life is hard for her and her sisters since their father has left and bills are mounting. She has been keeping to herself on Faire Isle when trouble comes in the form of the Dark Queen. Catherine De Medici has aspirations that she will see come to light. If this means setting an evil witch hunter after those that live on the Isle of her late friend (Ariane's mother) than so be it. Ariane will do what she must in order to keep her people safe. What she doesn't want to do is be forced to marry Renard. She wants love deep in her heart, despite the pain that she has seen due to "love." Still she is drawn helpless to the Renard. Will she allow her heart into his keeping though, or will pride stand in the way?

Renard is from humble stock. His grandfather despised him and the feeling were returned. Still, he must marry and when he sets eyes on the calm beauty of Ariane he will do whatever it takes to see this lady his bride. Neither is looking for love, but love will find them anyhow. Will they be able to save their love as well as the people who are counting on them? Or will the Dark Queen win all?

Ms. Carroll has taken the aspects of magic, witchcraft, romance, and history and combined them all into a absorbing read that will enthrall the reader. This is the first time I've ever read anything by this author and I have to wonder "what have I been doing???
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Shirley Priscilla Johnson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
In this outstanding work we are introduced to three young women, Ariane, The Lady of Faire Isle, and her two sisters Gabrielle and Miri.

These ladies are not what we would consider 'normal' women, but are Daughters of the Earth, or those who have inherited different supernatural powers. However, now these gentle women throughout the world are being charged with being sorceresses instead of being the healers that they are. It is a dangerous time for them.

After the death of their mother, Ariane became The Lady of Faire Isle and soon her powers were called upon to stop the wicked scheme of The Dark Queen, Catherine.

The Dark Queen, also a Daughter of The Earth, dabbled in the black arts which was forbidden, and she was responsible for the death of Ariane's mother. Ariane knew her powers were great and her evil influence was wide spread; she indeed was a dangerous woman.

Ariane was unsure of her ability to walk in her mother's footsteps, and feared her power was not developed enough to battle such a powerful woman; but the decision seemed to be made for her as the battle against The Dark Queen for Ariane's very existence, their way of life, and those she loves begins.

To add more confusion to her life a nobleman named counte de Renard is determined to have her as his bride; however he hides many secrets and Ariane is unsure if she can trust this nobleman not only with her heart, but with her life.

This is an excellent work of mystical power, battles between good and evil, romantic encounters and mysterious happenings. I was glued to the pages and couldn't wait to see what happened to Ariane and her sisters.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. H. Madrid on July 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is delightful, summertime fluff. The characters are interesting, the bad guys are creepy and the history (Catherine de Medici and St. Bartholomew's Eve) is real. The fantasy the author spins around the events leading up to the slaughter is an enchantment in itself. Only the language itself falls short of the story. The dialogue is sometimes stilted and the sporadic use of French feels forced. All in all the book is a good bet for a pool side read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By jebaer on January 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Dark Queen is an interesting story set in a historical setting with a feminist slant. It's much more than just a romance novel with some historical details thrown in. The main character is coping with the recent loss of her mother and the changing relationships with her younger sisters. Roles of women are examined and questioned is a very modern sense though the story is set in 16th century France. Having said all this, I enjoyed The Dark Queen (though she doesn't appear until the 2nd half of the book) and despite the 500 pages the story kept my attention.

I liked the little touches--the heroine is not irritatingly beautiful, the first ever head butt between lovers and this bit of advice for women everywhere: Never trust a man over your cat.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A. E. McQuade on August 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
As a huge fan of historical fiction (particularly of the Medieval and Renaissance varieties) as well as of fantasy novels, I was rather excited when I found this book on the "new fiction" table of my local bookstore. The back cover billed this book as a feminist-historical-fiction-fantasy hybrid. So, I thought "what the heck!" and purchased.

About 2 pages in - upon reading the physical description of the strikingly beautiful main character, Ariane, and the subsequent physical descriptions of her strikingly beautiful younger sisters - I realized I had been tricked! This book is more a Romance novel than anything else, albeit a slightly more substantial and far more engaging read than most "bodice rippers." (Of which, admittedly, I'm not widely read. So, perhaps they have more hidden charms than I have been lead to believe.)

Most of the other reviewers have labeled this book a decent "Summer Read." I'd classify it more in the decent "Commuter Read" category. If you take noisy public transportation, and want to occupy yourself with some easy-reading fluff, this book is probably ideal. If you're looking to sink your teeth into a solid novel of historical fiction, or even fantasy - this is probably not the best buy.
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