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Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Paladin of Souls

Categories: [ Books/World of the 5 Gods ]

Sequel to Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold, published in 2003.

Ista, the mother of the royina of Chalion-Ibra, can't stand her too quiet life in her castle. She decides to start a pilgrimage and get away from the place. During the journey, she has strange dreams about a man lying on a bed with a stream of light coming out of his chest and leaving through the door. On the way Ista and her party are attacked by Jokonan soldiers who take her prisoner for ransom. She is saved by a mysterious knight, Arhys, lord of the nearby castle of Porifors. Ista quickly notices that Arhys never eats and never sleeps at night. At the same time, Arhys' half brother Ilvin is near death, and has been so for the last three months, only waking up briefly, on some days. In a dream, the Bastard, god of demons gives her again the gift of second sight she had in the previous story. Ista then discovers that Arhys is actually dead, killed three months earlier by a Jokonan princess who stayed at the castle on a diplomatic mission. The princess was inhabited by a demon, and when she was killed the demon went into Arhys' wife, Cattilara, who was the closest person. Cattilara's will was strong enough to force the demon to keep Arhys' soul bound to his body, giving the illusion of life, while draining the life from his half brother. Ista manages to get Arhys to talk to Ilvin (Cattilara was preventing this to happen) and Arhys agrees he has to die for good. But Ista notices that Arhys' soul cannot be taken by a god, condemning him to damnation. Soon after, the Jokonans attack the castle, helped by Queen Joen who appears to be a powerful sorceress, and controlling eighteen other sorcerers. She demands Ista to be brought to her, as a first step to conquer Chalion and Ibra. Her sorcerers make the siege of the castle impossible to resist. During the night, Ista is visted again by the Father of Winter who gives her the power to link her soul to Arhys and thus allow him to be taken by his god when dying for good. Additionaly, the Bastard gives her the power to eat demons and return them to hell. Arhys, immune to demons' magic, leaves the castle at night in order to kill as many sorceres as possible and die gloriously, while Cattilara and Ilvin give him their life energy and absorb his wounds. After that, Ista and Ilvin go and surrender to the Jokonans. When taken to Joen, Ista absorbs her demon and the ones of her other sorceres. The Jokonans are then swept away.

[ Posted on February 1st, 2009 at 23:25 | no comment | ]