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Song for the basilisk
Patricia A. McKillip
Adult Fiction MCKILLI

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In most of McKillip's novels (Winter Rose, etc.) and short stories, this veteran author, a World Fantasy Award winner (for Forgotten Beasts of Eld, 1975), uses words in precisely the same way her mages do, to shape images and create fantastic visions where none previously existed. Sometimes the images are grotesque and violent, but more frequently they are ethereal and exquisite. McKillip's new novel is no exception. In it, a royal child escapes fire and certain execution by hiding in the ashes of the castle fireplace. Flame and death fill his mind and shape his thoughts so he is invisible to his enemies. After he is discovered, his rescuers rename him "Caladrius. After the bird whose song means death," and send him to the bards living on Luly, the music school on a rock at the end of the world. There he is called Rook. He masters the picochet, a peasant instrument, loves Sirina and begets Hollis, a son. Thirty-seven years pass and his family's enemy, Arioso Pellior, patriarch of the house of Basilisk, again reaches out his hand to crush any remaining members of the house of Tourmalyne. Rook remembers that his name is Griffin Tourmalyne and he journeys home. There he becomes an impetus for revolution and an inspiration for the royal opera, which draws the novel's principals together for a performance before the Basilisk and his family. McKillip is at the top of her form in this sweeping story about the redeeming powers of kindness and the potentially deadly beauty of music. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

A young man denies his past for a life as a teacher of bards until a chain of events too compelling to ignore plunges him once more into a confrontation with the Prince of Berylon, who slaughtered an entire noble family to gain his throne. The author of Winter Rose (LJ 7/96) weaves a lyrical story of passion and revenge set in a Renaissance-like world where music and magic are one and the same. McKillip's luminous prose and compelling characters combine to produce a masterwork of style and substance. Highly recommended for most fantasy collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Rook
Age: 40s
Member of the royal house of Tourmalyne; possesses inherited magical powers; able to make himself invisible to his enemies.

Arioso Pellior
Patriarch of the House of Basilisk; enemy to the House of Tourmalyne.

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