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The Curse of Chalion Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 427 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Chalion Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Iselle, the royesse (princess) of Chalion, and her lady-in-waiting, Bertriz, need a new tutor. Cazaril, the man chosen for the job, has been scarred, physically and mentally, from secret betrayals by the very people who now rule Chalion through Iselle's uncle, and who seek to control her younger brother, the heir, as well. To rescue the royesse, and save Chalion, Cazaril must play matchmaker between Iselle and the prince of another realm, fight off assassins, lift a century-old curse, and risk everything-learning not to run from his own love for Bertriz-along the way. Bujold weaves a convincing and captivating fantasy world, well researched, with magic that works and gods that live without destroying the balance of this medieval society. Cazaril's life is rich with detail, and plays a part in the conclusion. The villains are believably motivated. The young heroines are deeply sympathetic characters as well. Readers will find themselves rooting for the good guys, while still uncertain that all can end without at least one of them suffering a dire fate. A finely balanced mixture of adventure, swordplay, court intrigue, romance, magic, and religion makes this book a delightful read.

Paul Brink, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Betrayed by an unknown enemy into slavery, former soldier and courtier Lupe dy Cazaril escapes his bondage and returns to the royal household he once served. Entrusted with the teaching of the sister to the heir to the throne of Chalion, Cazaril finds himself drawn into a tangled web of politics and dark magic as he battles a curse that threatens the lives and souls of a family he has come to love. The author of the "Vorkosigan" series of dynastic sf turns her hand as competently and engagingly to the fantasy genre in a tale of quiet heroism and self-sacrifice. Compelling characters and richly detailed world building make this a strong addition to fantasy collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380818604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380818600
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (427 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,075,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you are wondering about whether to buy it because it isn't SF and it isn't Miles, stop wondering--buy it now. The Curse of Challion is head and shoulders above Bujold's other fantasy novel, Spirit Ring. The Curse of Challion is well worth the price in hardcover. This is the best book Lois McMaster Bujold has written in several years. Unlike some SF/fantasy authors (Anthony, Norton, McCaffrey), her writing continues to improve with experience.
The Curse of Challion is more realistic than most fantasies. Her world-building has matured greatly since she started the Vorkosian series. And Bujold did a much better job of including a god as a character than David Weber did in his most recent fantasy, The War God's Own.
This book will earn Bujold a Hugo nomination, and she just might win. I read dozens of books a year, mostly Fantasy and Science Fiction. This is the best book I've read this year. Heinlein was my favorite author and this book is as good as anything he ever wrote. Plot, characterization, pace, dialog--all are terrific. Although dark in places, The Curse of Challion is ultimately uplifting.
Cazaril is a much different hero than Miles Vorkosian. Where Miles is young and incredibly irrepressible, Cazaril is old and more cautious. The mapcap early adventures of Vorkosian/Naismith, while vastly entertaining, are much less realistic than the plot in this book.
Although the first in a series, the book ends happily without any significant loose ends. The entire book is deftly woven together--all the threads come together very satisfyingly at the end. My only complaint about the Curse of Challion is that the promised sequel is not yet in print.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
There are a few things I have come to expect from Lois McMaster Bujold:
1. Intelligent and atypical main characters
2. Excellent world-building
3. Da*n good storytelling
4. Original ideas
The Curse of the Chalion did not disappoint me one iota on any count.
Since the Editorial review does such a good job of summing up the plot, I'll forego that part in my review here. Fans of the author's SF series may be a little apprehensive about Bujold's foray into Fantasy; let me reassure them right now that they shouldn't be. Although her only previous Fantasy effort, The Spirit Ring, was a little below her usual level of excellence, TCOTC shows none of TSR's hesitant plotting. The story forges ahead fully confident and daring.
In keeping with what you might expect from an author who earned her stripes for @ 20 years in SF, the fantasy world of TCOTC has underpinnings of logic and a natural order to stabilize the magical flourishes. This is a universe in which magic is a power much like gunpowder: the common folk may know about it, could theoretically get their hands on it and use it, but rarely have the desire to considering the well-known risks and consequences. Rather than being used as a device to solve plot problems or dazzle the reader, magic is left to the Gods...except by the foolish who just insist on making life a little too interesting for everybody else.
The central character, Cazaril, is far and away the scene stealer in this book however. A brilliant minor nobleman who was betrayed four years ago into foreign slavery, he returns destitute to his birth land looking for a place to belong. It becomes obvious to everybody that his honor and wisdom are not to be underestimated, particularly when a few political enemies make that very mistake.
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Format: Hardcover
Lois McMaster Bujold has been my absolute favorite sci-fi author since I found her first book way back in 1986. With the publication of 'Curse of Chalion' she has also become my favorite fantasy writer. She's created a character in Cazaril who is more than 'everyman' and even more than 'Hero'. Bujold has basically created a fantasy wrapped in a mystery peopled by conundrums. It twists, it turns, it mystifies! Heck, in the end, it even makes sense! But best of all...it satisfies the soul, even while you still mull over some of the actions of the characters even after the cover snaps shut.
The world of Chalion is a wonderful land created less out of fairy tale and more from Spanish-influenced history. Bloody, yes, but also bloody brilliant. The best I've read all year, without any doubt. For many of the same reasons I love her Miles Vorkosigan series (humor, heart, action & adventure, etc..) I also love 'Curse of Chalion'. But there are other reasons to love this novel all on its own. Her characters breathe; her world is whole unto itself; and this story can stand alone and be great even if the author chooses never to visit here again. But I'm really hoping that she will, sometimes at least. :)
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Format: Hardcover
As usual Lois Bujold's latest book, "The Curse of Chalion" is tightly plotted and beautifully and sympathetically written, with believeable three-dimensional characters. It is a fantasy, set in an area not unlike 15th Century Spain, but with a very different theology. It is written from one point of view, that of Cazaril, sometime page, sometime soldier, sometime commander of a besieged castle, and, most recently, sometime galley slave. Like all her heroes he has the ability to play the hand he has been dealt - and to make wry observations, to himself and others, about it. A short review should not risk spoiling the plot for readers, but I shall tantalise with one most Bujoldian quote:- "...utterly indifferent to wealth." "No, I'm not," Cazaril assured him earnestly, "I just dress badly. I quite like wealth."
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