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Naamah's Curse: Kushiel's Legacy #8    by Jacqueline Carey order for
Naamah's Curse
by Jacqueline Carey
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2011 (2010)
Hardcover, Softcover, Paperback, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Jacqueline Carey's Naamah's Curse follows Naamah's Kiss as the eightth in her extraordinary Kushiel's Legacy series. The first trilogy told the story of anguissette Phèdre nó Delaunay. Along with her Perfect Companion Joscelin, she embarked on a series of adventures, ending with a harrowing quest to save young Imriel de la Courcel. The next three books told of Imriel's forbidden love for Sidonie, heir to Terre d'Ange, culminating in his defeat of a powerful sorceror in the name of that love.

Advancing in time, Naamah's Kiss introduced young Moirin of Alba's reclusive Maghuin Dhonn folk (once shapeshifters and magicians), whose guiding spirit is the Brown Bear. Moirin inherited small magics from her mother Fainche. Her father was a D'Angeline priest. In the City of Elua in Terre d'Ange, she met Queen Jehanne's lover, physician Raphael de Mereliot, who sought forbidden power and exploited Moirin's talents until Jehanne claimed her as her royal companion. Moirin also met Ch'in physician Lo Feng and his surly assistant Bao. They travelled together to Ch'in, where a draconian spell had been placed on Emperor Zhu's daughter Snow Tiger. The trio accompanied Snow Tiger to White Jade Mountain, where Moirin gave half of her diadh-anam (the divine spark of the Great Bear that guides the Maghuin Dhonn) to save Bao's life.

As Naamah's Curse opens, Bao has left Moirin, in order to come to terms with the new bond that yoked their destinies. With winter approaching, she sets out alone to find him in the desolate land of the Tatars. It is a hard journey, only eased by the kindness of individuals she meets along the way. After wintering with a Tatar tribe, Moirin rejoins Bao, only to find that he has married a Tatar princess. Though they choose to be together, they are betrayed. The Great Khan sells Moirin to Vralians, who bind her magic with special chains and take her to the Patriarch of Riva. This fanatic believes that (as 'Every abomination of two sinful races combined in one flesh') Moirin's forced conversion to the Yeshuite faith will empower him to 'change the world'.

Though she is treated cruelly and threatened with stoning, Moirin eventually wins free and searches for Bao. He was lied to and sent to the kingdom of the Falconer in the Abode of the Gods (the Himalayas in our world) by the Great Khan. There he has been bespelled by the powerful Spider Queen, who began life as an untouchable and rules through desire. Another tough journey takes Moirin to the region where she befriends Amrita, Rani of Bhaktipur, the Falconer's enemy. Moirin finds Bao again and wins his freedom, but they are not allowed to rest for long. They are called to the west, where Moirin dreams she must face demon summoner Raphael de Mereliot once more. I'm looking forward to Moirin's further adventures in Naamah's Blessing, released in 2011.

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