Cazaril, a physically and psychologically ravaged prisoner of war returning to his native country, accepts a position as tutor to a young noblewoman, which his well-wishers mistakenly believe will be a safe job. Instead he finds himself involved in dangerous intrigues against a pair of corrupt noblemen with designs on the young lady he protects, leading him to attempt the most dangerous magic of all: death magic that invokes the mysterious fifth god of the pantheon, the Bastard. He discovers that the court corruption he had set himself against is only one symptom of a curse that has overtaken the royal family of Chalion, and finds himself headed for a terrifying confrontation with the gods themselves.
This report prepared by Pauline J. Alama
In an easily-identifiable almost-parallel world where five bickering kingdoms of Quintarians fight each other and the Quadrene infidels, impoverished Lord Cazaril returns much changed from hideous captivity to seek a lowly position at his old patroness's provincial castle. Instead, recognized by friends and enemies both, he is swept into big-time intrigue at the court of the cursed royal family of Chalion. Here he deals with two surpassingly evil brother nobles, a weak king and abused queen, a beautiful lady-in-waiting, and a zookeeper with the most extreme wild talent I've ever encountered in a fantasy novel. Magic, intrigue, and self-sacrifice play central roles in Cazaril's desperate attempt to free the princess, her family, and the Quintarian world from the curse, while trying to keep his mind off the lady-in-waiting and come to terms with his own probable death from magical side-effects and/or intestinal cancer. More than any other Bujold book "Chalion" reveals the writer's deep and far-ranging understanding of both everyday and extreme reality and their unexpectedly intimate connection.
This report prepared by TCC
Eos, August 2001, 25.00, 448 pp.
Once he was a lord with his own title and estates until they were lost when his allies refused to ransom him. For many months, he was a slave on a galley ship until he found the opportunity to make a daring escape. Now Cazaril is walking back to Valenda, an estate where he began his military career as a page. He is given the job as tutorsecretary of the royal Iselle and her sister lady Betriz.
When the sisters and their brother Teidez are called to the court of Chalion, Cazarel accompanies them to try and keep them uncorrupted from the excesses at the royal residence. What they find is a weak king, an old enemy of Cazaril, and a curse that is put upon every member of the royal family. Although he is no saint, Cazaril is looked upon by the Gods to be the savior of Chalion if he lives long enough
Award winning author Lois McMaster Bujold writes a stand alone fantasy novel that is nothing less than fantastic. She creates a colorful imaginary world resembling medieval Europe, but makes that world and the people in it real. THE CURSE OF CHALION stars Cazaril, but a more reluctant champion this reviewer has yet to see. Ms Bujold has imbued her novel with a bit of tongue and cheek humor to lighten this taut thriller.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner