Summary

Fiametta Beneforte dreamed of making beautiful and enchanted objets d'art, but alas her magician-goldsmith father was more likely to have her scrub the kiln than study magic. After all, it was a waste to train a mere daughter beyond the needs of the moment.
Thur Ochs dreamed of escaping the icy mines of Bruinwald. But the letter from his brother, Uri, arranging his apprenticeship to Master Beneforte was not the only force that drew him over the mountains to the Duchy of Montefoglia....
A betrayal at a banquet plunges Thur and Fiametta into a struggle against men who would use vile magic for vile ends. The needs of this desperate moment will require all their wits, all their talents, and all their courage, if they are to rescue both Montefoglia and the souls of those they most love.
©1992 Lois McMaster Bujold (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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Critic reviews

"[An] enthralling dark fantasy set in Renaissance Italy, where the church regulates magic and licenses magicians.... 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." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Catriona on 05-03-13

need to stick with it

I remember when I first read this book I gave up after a few chapters, then went back a year or so later and enjoyed it. It could be the same for some with this recording. The story at first is not particularly interesting; told initially from the point of view of a teenage girl who seems somewhat self obsessed. It is not helped by the narrator who has a girlish voice, puts her emphasis in very strange places in the sentence, bringing it to a complete stop, and sometimes mispronounces words. (unless Bujold really was writing about women's undergarments rather than a brazier)

The story and characters do however develop and either the narrator improves or I was able to ignore her better.

It is clearly early Bujold and is written for a younger readership, but you can see in there the development of the maturer writer and some of her incidental description, such as when Thur is sitting in the monastery garden talking to Fiametta, is quite lovely.

I can't help feeling that she used some of the ideas from this to develop for the Chalion books.

I can't give it full marks, but it's an enjoyable story with an exciting and unusual climax.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 09-11-15

Great story.

Great story, but I wasn't so impressed with the narrator. I love all Lois Bujold's stuff, but I do wish they'd chosen someone with a less annoying voice to read it.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Becca on 18-02-12

On the whole, a disappointment

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The Spirit Ring is clearly early Bujold, but loads of fun anyway - except that this reader is so over the top in her reading that I found it hard to listen to and may not finish it in spite of my loving Lois Bujold's work. There are odd pauses and cadences to the reading that seem to have nothing to do with the actual sentence being read. At one point a character wails something, and it's read like an Old Testament prophet thundering, rather than being the voice of terror and despair.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jessica Almasy?

Bernedette Dunn, who read The Sharing Knife books by Bujold would have done a better job of it.

Do you think The Spirit Ring needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

no, it's complete in itself.

Any additional comments?

Fantasy lovers should find a copy of this book to read - it's very good - but I'd appreciate any other reviewers who might have found different things in the narrator than I did.

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18 of 21 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Roberta on 28-02-12

Enjoyed the Story, had to get used to the narrator

I quite enjoyed the story. It's about a young girl who loses everything she has but matures into an adult while regaining what she can while defying cultural authority, convention and finds that true love doesn't have to be in the form of a shining knight.
The narration at first was, for my ears, very childish. Before I got used to it the pipey, teenage female voice (albeit very suited to the age and sex of the main character) was quite distracting. But the work was well done and I did enjoy the book as a whole.

The story was also enjoyable, with enough twists and turns and creativity to build suspense and interest for the whole time.

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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