The Bridge of D'Arnath by Carol Berg
Carol Berg has been one of my favorite authors for years now, ever since I picked up Son of Avonar, having been intrigued by both the title and the cover. She’s an author who can handle first person point of view with skill (no, it’s not easier, trust me), weaves some truly fascinating plots with excellent twists, and creates interesting worlds peopled by races that feel unique in a genre full of elves, dwarves, and the like. Though she has her occasional disappointments, the quality of her writing is still above and beyond a lot of what can be found on the shelves next to her.
Son of Avonar is the first book in The Bridge of D'Arnath quartet. It introduces Seriana, and her twin journeys: Through the world she inhabits, yes, but also through memories of her past. Accompa... Read More
Carol BergAlthough Carol Berg majored in mathematics at Rice University, so she wouldn’t have to write papers, she took every English course that listed novels on the syllabus, just so she would have time to keep reading. And it was her college roommate who shared a dog-eared copy of Tolkien and a love for fantasy that changed Carol’s life… eventually. Somewhere in the midst of raising three sons, earning another degree — this time in computer science — and a software engineering career, another friend teased her into exchanging letters written “in character.” The game quickly got out of hand. Carol’s mythic fantasy novels have earned the Geffen Award, the Prism Award, multiple Colorado Book Awards, and the 2009 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature. She lives in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Find excerpts, pronunciation guides, and other information at Carol Berg’s website.
The Bridge of D’Arnath — (2004-2005) Publisher: In the Four Realms, sorcery is persecuted with a thoroughness that recalls the Third Reich, and Leiran noblewoman Seri has gone into exile to avoid not only that but also the faction fights of the royal family. Unfortunately, Leiran soldiers drive a mute, fugitive warrior to seek shelter with her. She helps him recover his identity, though as the story progresses, it appears that he may be a mage as well as a warrior, and may prove crucial for dealing with a menace that the Four Realms have brought on themselves by their war against magic.
The Bridge of D'Arnath by Carol Berg
The Lighthouse Duet — (2007-2008) Publisher: A stolen book of maps plunges a renegade sorcerer into a world of secret societies, doomsayers, fanatics, princes, and madmen. Yet only in the twilight of myth does he discover the truth of the coming dark age and the glorious, terrible price of the land’s redemption… and his own.
The Sanctuary Duet — (2014- 2015) Publisher: National bestselling author Carol Berg returns to the world of her award-winning Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone with an all-new tale of magic, mystery, and corruption…. How much must one pay for an hour of youthful folly? The Pureblood Registry accused Lucian de Remeni-Masson of “unseemly involvement with ordinaries,” which meant only that he spoke with a young woman not of his own kind, allowed her to see his face unmasked, worked a bit of magic for her….After that one mistake, Lucian’s grandsire excised half his magic and savage Harrowers massacred his family. Now the Registry has contracted his art to a common coroner. His extraordinary gift for portraiture is restricted to dead ordinaries—beggars or starvelings hauled from the streets. But sketching the truth of dead men’s souls brings unforeseen consequences. Sensations not his own. Truths he cannot possibly know and dares not believe. The coroner calls him a cheat and says he is trying to weasel out of a humiliating contract. The Registry will call him mad—and mad sorcerers are very dangerous….
Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg
With the second book of The Lighthouse Duet, Breath and Bone, now out, I decided to refresh my memory, as it's been a full year since I last read this one. I can remember being distinctly disappointed with it. Yet after some of what I've read this year (some of it being absolutely awful) I'd have to say my mind has changed somewhat.
This year my poor eyes have suffered so much awkward prose and poorly placed punctuation that Carol Berg's elegant, beautifully crafted work was a real breath of fresh air. Poetic without being overwrought, her prose is just amazing. Even when her characters sound archaic it fits together seamlessly, without being tiresome or trite, because Berg's world and words are built so consistently. She never just sticks in Ye Olde English to show off her mad literary skillz (if you'll pard... Read More
Breath and Bone by Carol Berg
Anyone who's read my review of Flesh and Spirit knows that I was a little bit disappointed in some aspects of the book (I maintain that this is due to the fact that Carol Berg has left me a spoiled, fussy fantasy reader). So how did Ms. Berg do this time around?
Okay, fair enough, Breath and Bone starts a little slow. This isn't a huge surprise, since the story is more like one book broken into two, than two separate books. Yet despite being a bit slow, it's not as though you're learning nothing. In fact you learn a great deal. Some of these things came as no surprise to me (likely because I had only just finished reading the first one) whereas others made my jaw hit the floor. And I simply love what Berg has done with Navronne. Things and people are just not what they first seem. It's difficult to get into wi... Read More
Dust and Light by Carol Berg
Really, Carol Berg?
I bought Dust and Light, your latest fantasy novel, because you wrote it, and because I loved the COLLEGIA MAGICA series. I had no idea you were going to do this to me.
I knew I was going to love your rich prose. In the first few pages, though, with great economy, you provided us with the big picture; a dead king, princes warring for a nation, a group of pureblood families who wield magic and go to extreme lengths to protect their bloodlines; rumors of an ancient, possibly mythical race called the Danae; and our narrator Lucien, who has failed his family and lost nearly everyone he loves. I liked his rebellious young sister Juli. I liked the way you showed us a character already in jeopardy, and then piled on more jeopardies, hard and fast. Just when I thought things could not get worse for Lucien, they got worse. Read More
The Collegia Magica — (2010-2012) Publisher: For Portier de Savin-Duplais, failed student of magic,sorcery’s decline into ambiguity and cheap illusion is but a culmination of life’s bitter disappointments. Reduced to tending the library at Sabria’s last collegia magica, he fights off despair with scholarship. But when the king of Sabria charges him to investigate an attempted murder that has disturbing magical resonances, Portier believes his dreams of a greater destiny might at last be fulfilled. As the king’s new agente confide, Portier — much to his dismay — is partnered with the popinjay Ilario de Sylvae, the laughingstock of Sabria’s court. Then the need to infiltrate a magical cabal leads Portier to Dante, a brooding, brilliant young sorcerer whose heretical ideas and penchant for violence threaten to expose theinvestigation before it’s begun. But in an ever-shifting landscape of murders, betrayals, old secrets, and unholy sorcery, the three agentes will be forced to test the boundaries of magic, nature, and the divine…
The Spirit Lens by Carol Berg
Courtiers are figures of contempt and fun in most fiction. They are craven lickspittles and influence peddlers, usually without honor. In The Spirit Lens, Carol Berg gives us a hero who is a true courtier. He is diplomatic, disciplined, strategic and loyal to his king at all costs — and the costs are great.
The Spirit Lens is the first book in the Collegia Magica series. Portier de Savin-Duplais is the librarian at the Camarilla Magica. He is a failure. Despite his bloodline and all his studies, Portier cannot do magic. While this personal failure is deeply galling, it may not matter so much in the grand scheme of things, because Sabria, the kingdom that is Portier’s world, is changing, and magic is on the decline.
Portier is summoned by Philippe, the king and his distant cousi... Read More
The Soul Mirror by Carol Berg
Carol Berg continues her Collegia Magica series with The Soul Mirror. The secret magical war being fought in the country of Sabria has left behind many victims: some dead, some maimed, some spiritually and psychologically damaged, and some intact in body and spirit but with reputation and honor destroyed. Anne de Vernase is one of these, the daughter of a traitor who not only betrayed country and king, but by betraying that king turned against his dearest and closest friend. Anne’s brother is held hostage by the king in an infamous prison known as the Spindle, and her strong, vibrant mother has catapulted into madness. Although Anne still lives on the estate she’s grown up on, it no longer belongs to the family, and a cordon of the king’s guards surrounds it at all times. Now Anne is informed that her younger sister Liannelle has died in a magical... Read More
The Daemon Prism by Carol Berg
The Daemon Prism brings to a close the first three books in Carol Berg’s COLLEGIA MAGICA series. I say “the first three” because there are enough dangling threads — a new form of magic, a royal baby about to be born — to support more stories in this world if Berg wants to write them. The primary quest, however, is resolved.
Berg’s world is similar to medieval Europe. The first book, The Spirit Lens, my favorite, followed a royal investigator, Portier, as he explored charges of witchcraft leveled against the queen. Portier’s investigation required him to work closely with the brilliant, rebellious and arrogant sorcerer Dante. What I liked about The Spirit Lens was the concept of ... Read More
The Books of the Rai-kirah — (2000-2002) Publisher: Seyonne is a man waiting to die. He has been a slave for sixteen years, almost half his life, and has lost everything of meaning to him: his dignity, the people and homeland he loves, and the Warden’s power he used to defend an unsuspecting world from the ravages of demons. Seyonne has made peace with his fate. With strict self-discipline he forces himself to exist only in the present moment and to avoid the pain of hope or caring about anyone. But from the moment he is sold to the arrogant, careless Prince Aleksander, the heir to the Derzhi Empire, Seyonne’s uneasy peace begins to crumble. And when he discovers a demon lurking in the Derzhi court, he must find hope and strength in a most unlikely place…
Sanctuary — (2014- ) Publisher: National bestselling author Carol Berg returns to the world of her award-winning Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone with an all-new tale of magic, mystery, and corruption…. How much must one pay for an hour of youthful folly? The Pureblood Registry accused Lucian de Remeni-Masson of “unseemly involvement with ordinaries,” which meant only that he spoke with a young woman not of his own kind, allowed her to see his face unmasked, worked a bit of magic for her….After that one mistake, Lucian’s grandsire excised half his magic and savage Harrowers massacred his family. Now the Registry has contracted his art to a common coroner. His extraordinary gift for portraiture is restricted to dead ordinaries—beggars or starvelings hauled from the streets. But sketching the truth of dead men’s souls brings unforeseen consequences. Sensations not his own. Truths he cannot possibly know and dares not believe. The coroner calls him a cheat and says he is trying to weasel out of a humiliating contract. The Registry will call him mad—and mad sorcerers are very dangerous….
The Song of the Beast — (2003) Publisher: Brutal imprisonment has broken Aidan McAllister. His voice is silent, his hands ruined, his music that once offered beauty and hope to war-torn Elyria destroyed. The god who nurtured his talent since boyhood has abandoned him. But no one ever told him his crime. To discover the truth, he must risk his hard-bought freedom to unlock the mind of his god and the heart of his enemy.