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Briar Rose (Limited Edition)

 

Giclee on Canvas

38" x 24" inches

 

Even before stories were written down, young and old have been enchanted by the tale of the beautiful princess who pricked herself and fell into a deep sleep. For at that moment, a thicket of briars grew tall and wide around her court and castle, enveloping it with myster. A legend gean to spread. Here, amidst light, shadow, and magic emberge the drafma of a king's decision, an angry thirteenth fairy, a prince undaunted by a wall of brambles, and a lovely princess, fast asleep. Birar Rose's story unfolds in lavish surroundings by beloved artist Kinuko Y. Craft's exquisite touch.

Cybele's Secret (Limited Edition)

 

Giclee on Canvas

29" x 22" inches

 

Cybele's Secret is Juliet Marillier's second novel intended for a Young Adult readership. It is set in the same world as its predecessor, the award-winning Wildwood Dancing, and like that excellent book it should prove popular with Marillier's adult fans, too. Although it brings back many of the same characters as the earlier book, Cybele's Secret is a stand alone story. It tells how Paula, the second youngest of the dancing sisters, goes on a quest to find a mysterious and valuable artifact from an ancient religion. The search takes her to Turkey in the company of her father. En route, she encounters the fascinating pirate, Duarte, and once in Istanbul she meets a far different young man, the bodyguard Stoyan. From this triangle there develops romance, adventure and a quest for self-discovery. Paula receives messages from the Other Kingdom, and to decipher them she has to deal with ruthless merchants and scholars and encounters with deception and murder. Readers of Wildwood Dancing will recognize the scholarly Paula as the same girl who, as a child, preferred to sit at the feet of sages while her sisters danced in the magical glade of the Other Kingdom. She is seventeen now; still scholarly and adventurous to boot. The magic in this book is more mysterious and somewhat darker than that of Wildwood Dancing, being tied up with the ancient mystery religion of Cybele, an earth goddess with links to the underworld. As always, Marillier's scholarship is impeccable. Research in Istanbul enabled her to portray that city as it was in even Ottoman times. We see the place and time through Paula's eyes: mosques, markets and ancient texts are shown in fine detail. Major characters come from a variety of ethneticities: Paula and her father are Romanian; Duarte is Portuguese; Stoyan is Bulgarian and other characters include not only Turkish but also Greek, Genoese, Neapolitan and more. The clever interweaving of these characters makes for a multicultural mix that adds both colour and depth to the book. The principal characters are well-developed and convincing and even the minor ones are distinct individuals. We are as surprised as Paula when we discover who her main opponent is and almost to the very end we wonder which man will finally win her heart. Paula learns a lot about herself and her place in the world in the course of her many adventures, and the tale builds to a classic romantic ending that will leave any young lady (and many older ones) weeping tears of joy.

Ombria in Shadow (Limited Edition)

 

Giclee on Canvas Regular Edition

38" x 25" inches

 

In Ombria in Shadow McKillip interweaves the finer aspects of the fairy tale and the Gothic to evoke a sense of catharsis. Fairy tale pacing and characters are balanced carefully against the darker aspects of the Gothic setting to produce wonder, fear, and -- in the end -- renewed hope that the world not only can, but will, be a better place tomorrow. McKillip's rich mix of deft characterization, adept world building, and artistic prose forms a magnificent tapestry. Ombria is a city in decline ruled by the House of Greve and its current Prince, Royce Greve. Once a great and powerful trading center, its fortunes have fallen, and along with them, the hopes of its people. Around every corner is an abandoned inn, storefront or home; in every building is a sign of decay and impending collapse. Pirates have driven the port almost out of business. Its people are sinking into despondency. And the members of the House of Greve and the other nobles of the city are ill-prepared for the death of Royce. The heir, Kyel, is a child, and the woman who will be his Regent is an unnaturally old and power hungry woman of the House of Greve, Domina Pearl. Like all great Gothic places, Ombria is also a city of secrets, both emotional and physical. From the title's clear connections to the Latin "umbra" (meaning shade, shadow) the reader is instantly inspired to think of the interplay of light and darkness, of shadows. Beneath the city of Ombria is an almost deserted undercity, complete with mansions, riverwalks, and ghosts. This undercity is home to Faey, a sorceress older than the city itself, and her young apprentice Mag, who may be a creation of Faey or an orphaned human child. Those who need Faey's help find their way to her through deserted storefronts and abandoned stairways, and she helps all comers, even when it means casting enchantments for both sides in a conflict.

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