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The Duke in His Castle (英語) ハードカバー – 2008/6/30
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THE DUKE IN HIS CASTLE by Nebula Award-nominated author and award-winning artist Vera Nazarian is a dark, lush, erotic fantasy novella in the vein of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast, with interior illustrations by the author.
Rossian, the young Duke of Violet, wastes away in mad solitude, unable to leave the confines of his decadent castle grounds because of a mysterious invisible barrier...until a strange female intruder arrives at the castle bearing a box of bones.
"Vera Nazarian combines the wry and poignant charm of Hans Christian Andersen with the subversive wallop of Angela Carter in crafting this gem of a fairy tale. No longer merely a promising writer, Nazarian has arrived."
"Vera Nazarian is a writer seemingly so full of story that it just comes bubbling uncontrollably out of her... The Duke in his Castle shows her at the peak of her form in a deceptively simple tale that probes the nature of life and death, of power and succumbing, and ultimately of good and both the evils-active evil and the evil born from apathy."
-John Grant, Co-Editor of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy
Interesting novella by Norilana headmistress Nazarian, a blend of fantasy and romance in the classical sense of the term (high adventure mixed with passion, rather than the passion-based stuff we know as romance today). Not without its flaws, but well worth your time nonetheless.
Rossian, the Duke of Violet, is the title character, the leader of one of seven duchies in the kingdom that is the world of the novel. Like his six compatriots, Rossian is incapable of leaving is castle, held in place by a curse from the Just King; none of the seven may leave, for reasons unknown. Rossian has his hypotheses, though, and they find themselves tested when a woman who claims to be an emissary of the Duchess of White shows up in Rossian's study bearing a box of bones.
The back of the book has a lot of words being thrown around that I'm not entirely sure apply to it, between it being called "erotic" ("disturbing" is far closer to the mark for the sexual scenes to be found here) and it being compared to Angela Carter, which is the tallest of orders (and obviously, I'm not holding it against Nazarian that someone blurbing the book was overzealous). The book's one problem, in my opinion, is the baroque language; you'd expect a book of just one hundred eighteen pages to be short, sweet, and to the point, but Nazarian is almost rococo in its application. That is a matter of taste, of course, and I'm sure many readers will find it as delightful as I find it off-putting. I certainly enjoyed this, and I hope others will discover Nazarian as well. ***
BUT! That might have just been me - because it was all in keeping with the tone of the story. And I'm going to say that my dissatisfaction is actually a compliment because I really wanted more.