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The Etched City

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The Etched City Cover

ISBN13: 9780553382914
ISBN10: 0553382918
Condition:
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Gwynn and Raule are rebels on the run, with little in common except being on the losing side of a hard-fought war. Gwynn is a gunslinger from the north, a loner, a survivor . . . a killer. Raule is a wandering surgeon, a healer who still believes in just--and lost--causes. Bound by a desire to escape the ghosts of the past, together they flee to the teeming city of Ashamoil, where Raule plies her trade among the desperate and destitute, and Gwynn becomes bodyguard and assassin for the household of a corrupt magnate. There, in the saving and taking of lives, they find themselves immersed in a world where art infects life, dream and waking fuse, and splendid and frightening miracles begin to bloom . . .

Synopsis:

Fleeing the ghosts of their past, a healer and a killer escape from the ruined Copper Country to the city of Ashamoil. But as they salvage new lives from the debris of the old, they will discover that the ghosts of the past are also the ghosts of the future. As tragic and comic destinies play out in the lush cityscape, art infects life, dream and waking fuse, and splendid and frightening miracles begin to bloom.Fleeing the ghosts of their past, a healer and a killer escape from the ruined Copper Country to the city of Ashamoil. But as they salvage new lives, they will discover that the ghosts of the past are also the ghosts of the future.

About the Author

K.J. Bishop was born in Melbourne, Australia. Her short stories have been published in Aurealis, Fables and Reflections, Borderlands, Album Zutique #1, Leviathan 4, The Alsiso Project, The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases, and the Serbian magazines Polaris and Znack Sagite. The Etched City is her first novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

James McKanna, January 16, 2013 (view all comments by James McKanna)
I rarely recommend that someone judge a book by its cover, but in this case, the cover art does it great justice: it is bloody and magical, dangerous, full of tiny bits of sweetness that seem to have no connection to one another until you take a step back and see them as a whole. It is a juxtaposition of everyday things that turns them utterly strange and new.

This book is about the lives of two characters, Raule and Gwynn, and how they come together and drift apart over the years. Both are killers (having served in at least one war), though Raule attempts to justify her actions through some ethical code while Gwynn embraces the negative side of his nature. However, trying to explain what this book is about through an exploration of its plot is like trying to explain a poem without using the words in the poem: it's almost impossible to convey any part of the real meaning.

Two things about this book particularly impressed me. First, the world is described in such a way that it seems (almost boringly) like our own - so that when something fantastic happens it is as jarring to the reader as it is to the characters. One of the ways this is accomplished is through perfect - again, almost poetic - use of language. This book contained more words I had to look up than any other I've read since college (as many as one a chapter). KJ Bishop's use of old phrases, technical terms, and the occasional neologism help to make the unexpected increasingly possible, and then inevitable, as the story continues.
Second, I was impressed by Bishop's willingness to end a sub-story that another writer would have forced into the larger context. For example, she may take several pages to describe a piece of paper that Raule finds and imagines to be useful in the future of their quest, and then completely dismiss it: "It never proved to be, though she kept it for a long time." At first I was dumbfounded by this seeming misuse of a literary device; why show me the knife in Act 1 and then inform me that it's never going to appear again in Act 3? Eventually I realized the genius, however: not only did it help me to better understand the characters ("Ah, Raule is the type of person who would hold on to such an item in the vain hope of its usefulness"), but it also became another part of this world that is so like our own and so different from almost any other literary world. How often do our stories wind up neatly coming together to form a pat ending? I don't know about you, but mine are much more often the "It never proved to be" sort.

I wish I were a writer so that I could recommend this book adequately. As it is, I can only say that if there is magic in the world, I am sure it is exactly as this book describes it: painful, transformative, ephemeral. Beautiful.
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Christin, July 30, 2012 (view all comments by Christin)
I finished reading this book yesterday and since then I've been trying to figure out why I found it so unsatisfying, in spite of the excellent writing. Now I think I have it: the characters never change. The writing is beautiful and it paints such a vivid picture of a fantastic city full of wonders, but none of these wonders impact the characters. They are the same people at the end of the story as they were at the beginning. While these wonders are taking place, the emotional effect they have (if any) on the characters is fleeting. It's really frustrating and it left me wondering what the point of the book was.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780553382914
Author:
Bishop, Kristen
Publisher:
Spectra Books
Author:
Bishop, K. J.
Subject:
Fantasy - General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-Fantasy
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20041131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
8.28x5.24x.87 in. .68 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » General

The Etched City New Trade Paper
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$22.75 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Spectra Books - English 9780553382914 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Fleeing the ghosts of their past, a healer and a killer escape from the ruined Copper Country to the city of Ashamoil. But as they salvage new lives from the debris of the old, they will discover that the ghosts of the past are also the ghosts of the future. As tragic and comic destinies play out in the lush cityscape, art infects life, dream and waking fuse, and splendid and frightening miracles begin to bloom.Fleeing the ghosts of their past, a healer and a killer escape from the ruined Copper Country to the city of Ashamoil. But as they salvage new lives, they will discover that the ghosts of the past are also the ghosts of the future.
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