Lois McMaster Bujold has won the Hugo award four times, and the Nebula award twice. In this, her first epic fantasy, we join Cazaril -- a former soldier, and courtier who is about to embark on a perilous journey, rife with lethal treacheries, demonic magic, and scheming characters. Lord Cazaril has been in turn courier, courtier, castle-warder, and captain; now he is but a crippled ex-galley slave seeking nothing more than a menial job in the kitchens of the Dowager Provincara, the noble patroness of his youth. But Fortunes wheel continues to turn for Cazaril, and he finds himself promoted immediately to the exalted and dangerous position of secretary-tutor to the Iselle, the beautiful, fiery sister of the heir to Chalions throne. Amidst the decaying splendor and poisonous intrigue of Chalion's ancient capital, Cardegoss, Cazaril is forced to encounter both old enemies and surprising allies, as he seeks to lift the curse of misfortune that clings to the royal family of Chalion, and to all who come too close to them...
"This is one of the great ones." -- Science Fiction Chronicle
"Fresh, intriguing, and as always from Lois McMaster Bujold, superb." -- Robert Jordan, New York Times best selling author of The Wheel of Time Series
"In a nicely detailed and wittily accented (see the anecdote of the prince and the young sow) medieval world, Cazaril, a crippled soldier, is appointed tutor to the sister of the royal heir, thanks to the influence of the royal grandmother. The honor flings him head foremost into a cesspool of court intrigue, in which he encounters adolescent royals with wills (and won'ts) of iron, scheming courtiers (even the ones on his side have so few scruples that with friends like these...), and enemies from the past as well as new ones. To that predicament and the tension of wondering whether his physical ailments can be cured, add a magic-tainted evil with a historic pedigree, and Cazaril becomes another of Bujold's up-to-his-posterior-in-alligators heroes posthaste. The most negative thing to be said of the book is that others have done this kind of thing before. Few of those, however, have done it half as well, and any fan not fixated on Bujold for her Vorkosigan saga should thoroughly enjoy it. Indeed, here's hoping it launches a series of tales as well told as the Vorkosigan volumes." Roland Green, Booklist
Lois McMaster Bujold was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1949. She attended Ohio State University from 1968 to 1972, but didn't graduate. She describes her real education as reading five books a week for ten years from the Ohio State University stacks, reading enormous amounts of SF as a teenager, and listening to her father, an engineer. She started writing in 1982, and sold her first story to Twilight Zone in 1985. Then Baen Books bought all three of the novels she had already written and published them in 1986. Her fourth novel, Falling Free, won Lois her first Nebula. "The Mountains of Mourning," also went on to win both Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novella of 1989, and The Vor Game and Barrayar won Hugos for best novel in 1991 and 1992. All her titles have been translated into fourteen languages (so far). She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota,with her two children, Anne and Paul.