A dense, character-driven weave of fantasy, mythology, and romance.

The Oath

From the The Crest of the Beast series , Vol. 1

This fantasy debut sees a lady-in-training drawn into battle against an evil force that’s destroying kingdoms far and wide.

While still a child, Adelheide, or “Adlai,” of House DuReiyne left her own family for the safety of House Dombrey. King WenLaon decided to have her raised alongside his son, Willan, while he fought the Shadow spreading through other nations. Now Adlai is a mischievous 16-year-old, and she adores Lord Willan, eight years her senior. One day, while practicing their tracking skills, the pair travels on horseback further than they intended. Cutting through the dark woods toward home, they encounter two winged beasts; a ferocious battle chases away Adlai's horse, and she’s gravely injured. Miraculously, though, she’s soon healthy enough to be reprimanded by headmistress Ardath, an abusive woman capable of boundless cruelties. Later, a cadre of tutors, including the affable Dr. Hindley, arrives to help mold Adlai into a lady fit for court. A disfigured stranger, whom Willan orders Adlai to avoid, then visits the Manor. When the stranger returns Adlai’s missing horse, however, her life turns bizarre. She finds that the answers to lingering questions about her origin are tangled up in both her dreams and her waking world, even as the love that’s carried her through a difficult youth proves unsustainable. Clark’s richly textured fantasy debut casts familiar creatures such as elves, dwarfs, and griffins in elaborate new roles that should surprise longtime readers of the genre. She vividly portrays Adlai’s teenage mindset in lines such as, she “felt an uncanny certainty that every peevish emotion she ever held was worn openly upon her sleeve.” Elsewhere, Adlai receives a mission that adds a religious tenor to the narrative; she’s told by a higher power that “the weaker you are...the more My own strength can freely flow through you.” Occasionally, the descriptions are florid, but when Clark serves up a dreamlike atmosphere (particularly in a scene featuring the Muses), her prose shines. This volume brings the story a measure of closure before speeding Adlai toward further adventures.

A dense, character-driven weave of fantasy, mythology, and romance.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-692-31801-0

Page Count: 402

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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