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Dirge for Prester John #02: The Folded Worldby Catherynne M Valente
Synopses & Reviews
The Christian Patriarch of Constantinople is fighting a holy war against the forces of Islam. His attempts to rally the support of Europe fail to give him the strength he needs against the forces of Islam. Fearing defeat, he sends his appeals to the great Christian king in the East, Prester John - for the Patriarch was once a boy named Kostas, a novice in the service of John, long before he became king. The Patriarch''s message, seemingly via divine providence, manages to cross into the world of John''s Kingdom, where John''s devotion to Christ overcomes his wife misgivings. To Hagia, Christianity and Islam are equally foreign to her and her world, and neither is worth fighting for or against. The kingdom rallies behind John''s banner, and his magical hosts march across the worlds. The closer the armies of Prester John come to Jerusalem, the more information reaches the Patriarch as to its nature, and the less comfortable he feels with his alliance. Can John and his armies save Jerusalem? Will the Patriarch remain an alley, or become a deadly enemy? And what will happen to The Worlds now that an army has breached the barriers between them? World Fantasy Award winner Catherynne M. Valente continues to re-imagine the legends of the Middle Ages, creating a rich fantasy tapestry that has captivated the imaginations of modern readers.
"The complex sequel to 2010's The Habitation of the Blessed details the travels and travails of fantastical creatures caught between ancient myth and early Christianity. Prester John, having hornswoggled his way to the throne of a fantastical kingdom, receives a letter begging him to defend Constantinople and Jerusalem. He obligingly travels west with his wife, the blemmye Hagia, and other members of his kingdom to promote Christ and stop the spread of Islam. Their trip culminates in a graphic and devastating battle, and deaths on both sides infuse the fantasy with reality and blur the lines between good and evil. Valente brings unicorns and talking lions brilliantly to life, and her cast of mysterious beings elevates this engaging and mystical tale. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
When the mysterious daughter of Prester John appears on the doorstep of her father's palace, she brings with her news of war in the West--the Crusades have begun, and the bodies of the faithful are washing up on the shores of Pentexore. Three narratives intertwine to tell the tale of the beginning of the end of the world: a younger, angrier Hagia, the blemmye-wife of John and Queen of Pentexore, who takes up arms with the rest of her nation to fight a war they barely understand, Vyala, a lion-philosopher entrusted with the care of the deformed and prophetic royal princess, and another John, John Mandeville, who in his many travels discovers the land of Pentexore--on the other side of the diamond wall meant to keep demons and monsters at bay.
These three voices weave a story of death, faith, beauty, and power, dancing in the margins of true history, illuminating a place that never was.
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