|The Quartered Sea|
Date: 01 May, 1999 — $6.99 — Book
I always find myself a little reluctant to read this book, perhaps because the protagonist is a little too self-pitying. Benedikt is a Bard, but his one quarter is Water instead of the more-common Air. He's extremely talented in that one quarter, well beyond the norm. But because everyone expects the Bards to Sing Air, he feels left out. (He also had parents who, while trying to be fair, had no notion of how to go about the business, and instilled in him a rather thorough inferiority complex.)
When the Queen of Shkoder asks for volunteers for a Bard to go along on a journey to find the land of a mysterious sailor, he is overjoyed when she picks him, not knowing he was the only volunteer. Though, quite honestly, his strength in Water is such he would be a logical choice. But an insane storm wrecks the ship and his only link to home, and he is washed up in a land where social missteps are extremely dangerous, and where his talents are going to be used or abused.
This is the other reason I have trouble returning to this novel. Benedikt is tortured in a very disturbing manner, and though it seems at the end he is going to be rescued, it is still hard to endure the problems of an alien culture. Despite my reservations, though, I enjoy the book while I'm reading it. It's just afterwards that it disturbs me.