The Chosen are a race of masters... Taller, more long-lived, more beautiful than ordinary people -- slaves and savages -- they must be masked at all times in the presence of their inferiors... they must never set foot on unhallowed ground... they must not be polluted by anything... they never forget a slight... their games and intrigues are invariably cruel and deadly.
Young Carnelian's father chose exile over a life of dishonor in the company of the other Chosen. But when the God Emperor of his people, a mortal man selected to be the embodiment of the divine Twins the Chosen worship, falls ill, Carnelian's father is called upon to oversee his successor's election. Carnelian embarks on a harrowing journey to the heart of the Three Lands, the forbidden temple/palace/city of Osrakum, which makes the Chinese Fobidden City look puny. Along the way he will learn about suffering, betrayal, loyalty, passion, and worst of all - choice.
Slow-moving but absorbing, this is a fantasy of mores and manners as much as it is a coming-of-age story set in an astonishingly opulent and cruel world.
A very good book. It started out a little slow for me, but the world drew me in and soon I was absolutely fascinated; I don't think politics have ever interested me so much. I can wait for the next one to appear on the website.
At the Heart of the Three Lands...there is a paradise, a place of true beauty where the society of the Masters has evolved. Men who rule with exquisitely savage cruelty, beings who control the universe and whose plans (or whims) can bring either perfect pleasure...or death.
Young Carnelian has spent his entire life in exile with his father, a nobleman who rejected the evil ways of his people and fled to the ends of the World. But now a ship has come flying through the winter gales to lay waste to their world. Three Masters disembark and in a formal conclave beseech Carnelian's father on his honor as the only man capable of overseeing the election of their new God Emperor.
And so Carnelian will return to his homeland, a place of incomprehensible beauty and sadistic charms; to a court where intrigue, madness, and bestiality weave a horrific tapestry--and where Carnelian will set in motion the concluding events of a story four thousand years in the making.