Sunday, January 14, 2007



Paula Volsky

Date: 01 January, 1993   —   Book

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Fiction, Fantasy

Any student of the French Revolution will recognize the scene. A capital city, a privileged class that is truly blind to the suffering of the underclass, a few gifted rhetoricians, and an atmosphere that is ready to pop... and you know that a Reign of Terror is just around the corner.

You know, but the Exalted don't.

Exalted Miss Eliste vo Derrivale is concerned about her appearance at court, not the rumblings of serfs. In fact, once in the hands of her capable great-aunt Zeralenn, she learns that to worry about such things is beneath her. Yet she can't help but worry about the increasing problems for the Exalted, and the growing power of the raconteur Whiss Valeur. And then the city is clamped down, and Eliste has to learn all too well what the sufferings of her people are like.

Though the framework of the story is based on the French Revolution, Volsky has turned the tension up by the addition of magic, and by adding elements of the Russian experience (such as complete bodily serfdom, even after death) to make the people's experience even more miserable. One can spot elements of multiple repressive societies throughout history. If one is interested, one can even name the historical characters some figures are based upon.

Disclaiimer: I love Les Miserábles. That may affect how I view such books.

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