Plot summary[ edit ] Cazaril was formerly a noble in the land of Chalion, but was betrayed and sold into slavery. He returns to a regional court where he is hired as tutor to Iselle second in line for the throne of Chalion after her brother Teidez and her handmaid Betriz, for whom he develops romantic feelings. Their mother Ista also lives with them, but is considered mad. He accompanies Teidez, Iselle and Betriz to the capital, where he encounters his betrayer Dondo, whose brother Martou is chancellor to the ailing monarch Orico.
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Dec 27, Mayim de Vries rated it it was amazing How strangely we are blinded by the surfaces of things. What is a diamond? A lump of ordinary coal that took pressure exceptionally well.
Castillar Lupe dy Cazaril is your diamond in this story. And please do not call him broken, there is nothing broken about the diamond, even before it is cut to gain the proper shine and brilliance. The Curse of Chalion is a story told from the margins of a great power play. You know all these books sporting princes and princesses fighting for or defending their heritage, the tales that take you right there to the very heart of what is happening and let you experience the heat of events through the eyes and hearts, and souls of the high and lofty?
This is not one these books. The tide of the tale takes us in, but we follow its erratic swirls observing them from the point of view of a seemingly unimportant shell snatched from the shore. The narrator is merely a faithful companion to the main players. Furthermore, the story, as all good stories should, unfolds in both directions, into the future and into the past - not retrospectively, but in a way that allows the reader to make sense of seemingly unimportant events or to join them into a meaningful sequence.
Gift from Grandmama. Aged thirty-five. In spite of his lowly status, Caz is the main pillar of the story. In fact, he bears the weight of the whole book on his weary shoulders. I was genuinely surprised how this middle-aged man was able to hook me into his narrative.
Ex-soldier turned secretary whose main ambition was to find a quiet corner where high life would not bother him anymore does not sound terribly exciting, does it? And yet, this steadfast and principled, rather introvert person, swept into the drama shows that the smallest piece of rock can start a huge avalanche and be a crucial agent of momentous change.
Caz is not a mere instrument, an accidental tool or a passive witness, he reaches out into the thickest of the forces at play to grasp and to master what is happening. Men always have a choice - if not whether, then how, they may endure. The motif I found the most profound in the whole book is the invitation to reconsider our own personal paths - when we a arrive at some point in our lives we can always ask ourselves: was it by accident, by pure chance or was there some design, some pattern to it?
If so, where and when has it begun? Was I a conscious and willing element or just a grain of sand caught in the turning gyres? In addition to lovely prose, Ms Bujold created a cohort of engaging characters. The members of the ruling House of Chalion, including its youngest scions, the siblings Royesse Iselle and Royse Teidez, two focal points of the intrigue, the courtiers, the servants, even the animals and the divine beings, form an amazing assortment of tropes and figures.
Prayer is a dangerous business. I think it should be outlawed. The whole idea of a curse, central to the whole plot was fiendishly clever view spoiler [distorting and betraying virtues and turning good into evil hide spoiler ] because it rendered evil characters with more than a two-dimensional perspective, even though the majority of what happens is quite easy to surmise in advance.
I have found in Bujold everything I have been looking for and even more than I asked, and I will definitely be continuing the series and reading her other novels.
The Curse of Chalion