Paladin of Souls : World of the Five Gods: Chalion

  • by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by Kate Reading
  • Series: World of the Five Gods: Chalion
  • 16 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Three years have passed since the widowed Dowager Royina Ista found release from the curse of madness that kept her imprisoned in her family's castle of Valenda. Her newfound freedom is costly, bittersweet with memories, regrets, and guilty secrets, for she knows the truth of what brought her land to the brink of destruction. And now the road, escape, beckons...A simple pilgrimage, perhaps. Quite fitting for the Dowager Royina of Chalion.Yet something else is free, too, something beyond deadly. To the north lies the vital border fortress of Porifors. Memories linger there as well, of wars and invasions and the mighty Golden General of Jokona. And someone, something, watches from across that border: humans, demons, gods.Ista thinks her little party of pilgrims wanders at will, but whose? When Ista's retinue is unexpectedly set upon not long into its travels, a mysterious ally appears, a warrior nobleman who fights like a berserker. The temporary safety of her enigmatic champion's castle cannot ease Ista's mounting dread, however, when she finds his dark secrets are entangled with hers in a net of the gods' own weaving.In her dreams, the threads are already drawing her to unforseen chances, fateful meetings, fearsome choices. What the inscrutable gods commanded of her in the past brought her land to the brink of devastation. Now, once again, they have chosen Ista as their instrument. And again, for good or for ill, she must comply.

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What the Critics Say

"Rich in sumptuous detail and speculative theology....This engaging installment of Chalion's mythical history whets the appetite for new marvels yet to come." (Publishers Weekly)
"Bujold couldn't characterize badly if threatened with a firing squad, and what really keeps one turning the pages is the fascinating cast of characters, not that the plot is anything to sneeze at." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wonderful

This is a really wonderful book, and it's great to find it unabridged on Audible. It spins an absorbing story around a minor and seemingly very unheroic character from *The Curse of Chalion*, the widowed Ista (note: you do not have to have read *The Curse of Chalion* to enjoy this, although you may well want to read it afterwards.)
Ista is 40 and seemingly rather defeated by life, having suffered the death of her husband and son and a prolonged bout of divinely-induced madness. She decides to set out on a pilgrimage to escape from her confined life at court, but quickly finds that the gods have not yet done with her. It's the kind of narrative that keeps you guessing - just when you think you've sussed out where it's all headed it suddenly takes a sharp turn in another direction. Nevertheless it comes to a very satisfying conclusion. I find it the kind of book that's a real pleasure to re-read because it's fascinating to see how the author sets up plot and character developments a long way in advance.
I suppose my one minor quibble is that the narrator sometimes makes Ista sound a bit too feeble and self-pitying, particularly to begin with. That said, she is a character who grows in strength and self-confidence in the course of the novel, so presumably the narrator was trying to reflect this. Other than this I found the narrator excellent: the different characters are voiced very effectively, and she manages to distinguish between the different levels of narration (narrator's voice, Ista's internal thoughts, Ista's speech, etc.) very clearly.
Overall, this is a strong character-driven novel with a clever and satisfying plot. I thoroughly recommend it, even if you're not normally into fantasy novels.
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- Jane

Just fabulous.

What a beautifully crafted and exquisite fantasy novel, which fully desrerves the awards it has received. I have been hesitating for sometime whether to add it to my collection and I'm so glad I did.

The author did a magnificent job sculpting Ista, the main character, full of knowledge, beautiful emotion and strength within. Ista is no ordinary person and following her story you will lose yourself for hours. There are so many layers to her personality.

On the first thought, a strong heroine might appeal more to female readers, however I would recommend this book to anyone with a little bit of willingness to endulge yourself in a good and captivating story.

Kate Reading did a splendid job. It's a pleasure to listen to her voice, which so easily expressed all humanly possible feelings: happiness, sadness, fear, wisdom, love, excitement and so many others.

Listening to 'Paladin of Soluls' was a simple pleasure.
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- Nina

Book Details

  • Release Date: 25-03-2005
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.