- Hardcover: 124 pages
- Publisher: Norilana Books (June 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1934648426
- ISBN-13: 978-1934648421
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,725,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Duke In His Castle Hardcover – June 1, 2008
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Interesting novella by Norilana headmistress Nazarian, a blend of fantasy and romance in the classical sense of the term (high adventure mixed with passion, rather than the passion-based stuff we know as romance today). Not without its flaws, but well worth your time nonetheless.
Rossian, the Duke of Violet, is the title character, the leader of one of seven duchies in the kingdom that is the world of the novel. Like his six compatriots, Rossian is incapable of leaving is castle, held in place by a curse from the Just King; none of the seven may leave, for reasons unknown. Rossian has his hypotheses, though, and they find themselves tested when a woman who claims to be an emissary of the Duchess of White shows up in Rossian's study bearing a box of bones.
The back of the book has a lot of words being thrown around that I'm not entirely sure apply to it, between it being called "erotic" ("disturbing" is far closer to the mark for the sexual scenes to be found here) and it being compared to Angela Carter, which is the tallest of orders (and obviously, I'm not holding it against Nazarian that someone blurbing the book was overzealous). The book's one problem, in my opinion, is the baroque language; you'd expect a book of just one hundred eighteen pages to be short, sweet, and to the point, but Nazarian is almost rococo in its application. That is a matter of taste, of course, and I'm sure many readers will find it as delightful as I find it off-putting. I certainly enjoyed this, and I hope others will discover Nazarian as well. ***
BUT! That might have just been me - because it was all in keeping with the tone of the story. And I'm going to say that my dissatisfaction is actually a compliment because I really wanted more.
It is a tale of magic with two unforgettable characters: the Duke of Violet, a Heathcliff-like hero with pent-up magical abilities and unspent sexual power, both of which he uses only when Izelle, the other character, goads him into action. The story line is gripping, and leads not just to death and rebirth, but also to a discovery of the shaky foundation of the universe. The other character, Izelle, is amusing, exasperating, puzzling, and thoroughly charming. You have to meet them both to know what I'm talking about.
Nazarian's style is elegant without pretension, sensual without crudeness, emotional without bathos. She evokes the gothic atmosphere of the Duke's castle with grace and power. Though you get the same type of pleasure you seek from H. P.. Lovecraft or Edgar Allan Poe, Nazarian's prose is more grounded, more vividly presented to the senses. And yes, there is a sex scene, a very weird one.
Nazarian ends the book with a satisfying set of surprises, each character getting just what they need -- and want.
I believe Nazarian is a relatively new writer, but she's already received some kudos, including Nebula nominations. I'll be following her future work with interest.
Most recent customer reviews
I adore lush, dark, sensual fantasies, such as Tanith Lee's writings. I adore highly symbolic, metaphorical writing.Read more