The Stone Prince is the story of Prince Demnor and his Companion, Kelahnus. Demnor has been taught by his mother that only flawed vessels show emotion and have feelings for others. And flawed vessels crack under pressure. When he was sixteen, Demnor fell in love with Kelahnus, but they were separated by his mother's command. Demnor eventually wins Kelahnus back, but then he is forced into marriage with the Duke Isolde. Despite Demnor's affection for his male companion, he starts to have feelings for the beautiful Isolde. When Demnor's mother is suddenly murdered, he becomes the Vessel of the Flame. As the Vessel of the Flame, Demnor is the political and religious head of the country (think Louis XIV) and is almost worshipped as a Deity. Just when Demnor begins to gain control of his kingdom, one of their conquered territories rebels (think Scotland v. England) and Demnor is drawn into war. There he has the opportunity to prove himself and to make peace with his mother.
The characters in this novel were intriguing, especially since there really was no gender role separation. Males and females are both referred to as Prince, Duke, etc.
The School of the Companions was also an interesting concept. There the most beautiful and talented youths in the kingdom are trained in politics, court manners, sex and assasinations. Every noble has their own Companion, or several Companions. The nobles never sleep alone. The Companions are not supposed to fall in love and their ultimate loyalty belongs to the School of the Companions. One of the subplots of the book is Kelahnus' inner struggle as he tries to keep himself from falling in love with Demnor and to stay loyal to his teachers and his school.
This story is a little slow at times and can be confusing as the author jumps back and forth between past and present and different characters. Also, it was a disappointment that Kelahnus was potrayed as a typical gay male - jumping from bed partner to bed partner, always concerned with his looks, etc.
The review of this Book prepared by Debbie