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The privilege of the sword
Ellen Kushner
Adult Fiction KUSHNER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Kushner's winning high fantasy with its sophisticated swordplay marks a welcome return to the romantic Riverside world she introduced in Swordspoint (1987). Coming-of-age gets complicated for winsome Lady Katherine Samantha Campion Talbert after she's shipped off to her uncle, the Mad Duke of Tremontaine (aka David Alexander "Alec" Tielman Campion), who reigns over a decadent world of erotic and political intrigue. At first Kate's frightened of becoming a swashbuckler, but after training with the duke's favorite lover, the dashing Richard St. Vier, and becoming friends with Marcus, Alec's devoted young assistant, she finds she's more than up for the task. Her skills are tested in her effort to avenge the rape of her best friend, Lady Artemesia Fitz-Levy, by one of her uncle's foes, Anthony Deverin (aka Lord Ferris, Crescent Chancellor of the Council of Lords). Kate's discovery that "Fear is enemy to the sword" and love is the key to triumph leads to surprising consequences. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

To save her family from impoverishment, Katherine Talbert accepts an invitation from her uncle, a.k.a. the Mad Duke Tremontaine, to join his household and be trained as his personal swordsman. During her education, Katherine gradually discovers a new sense of freedom in a society where women's futures are determined by their families rather than their own desires. Set in the same quasi-Regency world as Kushner's Swordspoint and The Fall of the Kings (cowritten with Delia Sherman), this novel introduces a fearless and resourceful heroine with a true heart and a keen-edged blade. Spiced with humor and spot-on period detail, this coming-of-age tale belongs in most fantasy and YA collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Katherine Samantha Campion Talbert
Well-bred country girl; shipped off to live with her uncle; trains to use a sword by Richard.

Alec Campion
Katherine's uncle; known as the Mad Duke Tremontaine; morbid; sarcastic; cynical; emotionally troubled; Richard's lover believes rules are made to be broken; wants his niece to learn swordplay instead of marriage.

Richard St. Vier
Pragmatic; amoral; world-weary; expert swordsman; Alec's lover.

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