Monday, June 28, 2010

Naamah's Curse, by Jacqueline Carey

Naamah's Curse
This story continues the tale of Moirin which Carey began in Naamah's Kiss, part of a new cycle taking place several generations after her tales of Phedre and Jocelyn, Imri and Sidonie in the Kushiel cycle. Moirin's lover, Bao, has fled the land of Chi'in, trying to come to terms with his return from death. Part of Moirin's spirit is living in him now, and after waiting for him for several months, the compulsion to be joined with him is too strong, and she sets out to find him.

She travels to the borders of Chi'in, and enters the endless steppes of the Tatar tribes, following the call  of her divided spirit in Bao. When she is forced by the weather to spend the winter with a Tatar family in their tent, or ger, she begins to forge bonds of adopted kinship with them. In the spring, she sets out once again, and at the Great Gathering of the tribes, she is finally reunited with Bao once more.

Unfortunately, in the meantime, Bao has been wed to the daughter of the great Khan, and neither the Khan nor his daughter is happy to see Moirin. He conspires with men from the land of Vralia to capture her and contain her magic, and the Vralians take her back to their own lands. The Khan misdirects Bao by telling him that Moirin was kidnapped by The Falconer, a prince of assassins whose domain is in an entirely different direction.

Moirin is held captive by the Patriarch of the church of Elua in Vralia, Rostov. He has plans to forcibly convert her to the Habiru faith and to use her as a political lever to begin a crusade against Terre d'Ange, where they definitely worship Elua and his Companions in a totally different manner. Moirin must find a way to escape his clutches and to resume her quest to be joined with Bao once more.

Carey has once again returned to the type of gripping tale that we saw in the latter portion of her first trilogy, placing her heroine in a place of suffering. Contrary to Phedre's nature, Moirin is not particularly suited to enjoy torture and pain, and the way she succeeds through her trials is perhaps more subtle. There are some wonderful undercurrents throughout the book, hinting at the deeper tasks that the gods have assigned to Moirin. It's obvious that her quest not only serves her own desires, but serves as a spark to move men and nations. Looking forward to the conlusion of this trilogy, though I don't see how Carey can possibly resolve all the issues raised here in a single volume.

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