Lois McMaster Bujold’s “The Curse Of Chalion” is a fun little book. It’s a bit more of a “popcorn” read than some of my recent undertakings, but at least it has a engrossing story and enjoyable characters—unlike a certain other fantasy book.
I don’t know what it is, but I seem to have picked a lot of “political” fantasy stories recently. Though not as convoluted as the “A Song Of Ice And Fire” series can get, this book is still full of corrupt high chancellors, scheming nobles and weak sovereigns. “Chalion” is more of a theological fantasy than the elves and dwarves kind. It is still set in a kingdom of knights, princesses and castles but the magic involves interaction with the gods of the realm.
The the ruling house of Chalion was cursed years ago by a death magic spell and ever since nothing has gone right for them—from disastrous military campaigns to tragic deaths to childless marriages. The quiet and unassuming Cazaril, a one-time lord and warrior who spent nearly two years as a slave rowing an enemy galley, is caught in the middle of this trouble while trying to tutor the beautiful young royesse and keep her from getting swallowed up by the corruption of her brother’s court.
It has much more of a Hollywood-style ending than George R.R. Martin’s books, but it’s still a good read.