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Kushiel's Justice    by Jacqueline Carey order for
Kushiel's Justice
by Jacqueline Carey
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2007 (2007)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This is the fifth - following Kushiel's Scion - in Jacqueline Carey's unique series, a daring blend of historical intrigue and erotic fantasy. This second trilogy transferred the spotlight from Phèdre nó Delaunay, Comtesse de Montrève to shine on her adopted son, Imriel de la Courcel, born to Phedre's nemesis, Melisande Shahrizai.

After a series of unexpectedly dangerous adventures in Tiberium in the previous episode, in which he sowed wild oats, Imriel returns to Terre d'Ange. Its inhabitants are descended from angels, the basis of their beliefs being 'Love as thou wilt.' Imriel finally reads his mother Melisande's letters (which dilute his hatred towards her), tries to learn more of the mysterious Unseen Guild, and prepares to do his duty as a Prince of the Blood and marry the Cruarch of Alba's niece, Dorelei mab Breidaia. However, Imriel's searing feelings for Sidonie, heir to Terre d'Ange, have only grown stronger with absence, as have hers for him. Both know that a liaison between them will not be welcomed by Sidonie's mother, Queen Ysandre, and both have a strong sense of duty - they meet secretly, but agree that it cannot continue.

Imriel marries Dorelei and sails to Alba, accompanied by Phèdre and Joscelin and also by his old friend Eamonn and the latter's new wife, Brigitta of Skaldia. They encounter other favorite characters from previous episodes, including the Master of the Straits and his young family. Though Imriel does come to terms with his new life and forms a surprisingly close relationship with the quiet, kind and thoughtful Dorelei, his feelings for Sidonie betray him and leave him vulnerable to the Maghuin Dhonn, Alban shapeshifters and magicians, whose guiding spirit is the bear. They have had visions of possible futures and intend to manipulate events to ensure which one transpires. Betrayal, tragedy and horror unfold, sending Imriel trailing Yeshuite pilgrims north to snowbound Vralia on a desperate quest for vengeance.

I always enjoy spending time in Jacqueline Carey's rich and intriguing world. In Kushiel's Justice, she offers us another fantastic feast, spiced with the exotic tastes of a variety of unique cultures, blended with the familiar characters we have grown to care for, and a few new faces as well. I can't wait for more.

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