Left behind home alone again for an entire weekend, unable to leave the house because what little livelihood I have is bound, but of course, to the Internet--which I have for years told my family we need to have up in Maine...to no avail. *bitter*
Anyway, I finally finished the gorgeous novel that I've been haphazardly working on for the past week or so--slowly, because such writing ought to be savored:
Saint Fire by Tanith Lee
Book Two of The Secret Books of Venus, the quartet about a fantasy Venice through the ages continues it's myriad delights, this time exploring not the depth of debauchery and secret societies, but rather dissecting the follibles and faith of the Church. The protagonist is Volpa, a slave girl pitiful in every way save that her mother has given her a valuable gift--the ability to call fire from her red hair. She is "discovered" by the Church, if you will, and is soon groomed by the most amazing Danielus, to become a saint and to turn religion away from repentence and self-hatred and toward love. And indeed, the love that grows between her and the soldier of God Christiano is nothing short of divine. Figure, though, that things do not go smoothly; they never do, when a woman is given ultimate power, after all. Really, the only words for Lee's writing when it is at it's best is "gorgeous," and this novel, like Faces Under Water before it, is nothing short of that word. Filled with sensuality and just the barest hint of eroticism (the fangirls will love this boy--at one point even his sister wishes he could find a nice *man* to settle down with ^^; ). I was really surprised that the religious themes of this novel did not irk me; I don't generally like it when my fantasy novels try to preach to me about morality. Naturally, this is not your usual moral, think along the lines of Anne Rice, but Tanith Lee is a far better writer and her complex yet subtle style will appeal to those who like great literature, while the magic will appeal to those who like fantasy. Highly recommended; if you haven't tried this series before, I suggest you start with Book One.