The Spirit Ring

Lois McMaster Bujold, Author, Bujold, Author
Lois McMaster Bujold, Author, Bujold, Author Baen Books $17 (369p) ISBN 978-0-671-72142-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-671-72188-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-671-57870-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4805-6383-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-4805-6445-9
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Hugo and Nebula winner Bujold (the Miles Vorkosigan series; Barrayar ) makes her hardcover debut with this enthralling dark fantasy set in Renaissance Italy, where the church regulates magic and licenses magicians. After Uberto Ferrante assassinates the Duke of Montefoglia and takes over the duchy, master goldsmith and sorcerer Prospero Beneforte flees with his 16-year-old daughter, Fiametta. But he dies of a heart attack while being pursued by Ferrante's men for his magical powers and knowledge. His unshriven body is taken back to Ferrante to be used in making a spirit ring granting the usurper the strong powers of black magic. Fiametta, talented in magic and metalwork but untrained because she is female, joins with Thur Ochs, a young Swiss with untapped skills in necromancy, to rescue the souls of her father and of Ochs's brother, a mercenary soldier. Aided by a wise churchman, the two youngsters take on the ancient evil of sorcery used for devilish ends. In a perfectly natural manner, Bujold incorporates the concept of magic into this crisply paced, fully developed tale. She notes that Benvenuto Cellini served as the inspiration for the hugely talented, hugely egocentric Beneforte. (Nov.)
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