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Set against the burgeoning Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and then just before the outbreak of the Civil War, The Freedom Maze explores both political and personal liberation, and how the two intertwine.
In 1960, thirteen-year-old Sophie isn’t happy about spending summer at her grandmother’s old house in the Bayou. But the house has a maze Sophie can’t resist exploring once she finds it has a secretive and playful inhabitant.
When Sophie, bored and lonely, makes an impulsive wish inspired by her reading, hoping for a fantasy adventure of her own, she slips one hundred years into the past, to the year 1860. On her arrival she makes her way, bedraggled and tanned, to what will one day be her grandmother’s house, where she is at once mistaken for a slave.
This stunning follow-up to Ellen Kushner’s cult-classic novel, Swordspoint, is set in the same world of labyrinthine intrigue, where sharp swords and even sharper wits rule. Against a rich tapestry of artists and aristocrats, students, strumpets, and spies, a gentleman and a scholar will find themselves playing out an ancient drama destined to explode their society’s smug view of itself–and reveal that sometimes the best price of uncovering history is being forced to repeat it…
Generations ago the last king fell, taking with him the final truths about a race of wizards who ruled at his side. But the blood of the kings runs deep in the land and its people, waiting for the coming together of two unusual men, Theron Campion, a young nobleman of royal lineage, is heir to an ancient house and a modern scandal. Tormented by his twin duties to his family and his own bright spirit, he seeks solace in the University. There he meets Basil St. Cloud, a brilliant and charismatic teacher ruled by a passion for knowledge–and a passion for the ancient kings. Of course, everyone now knows that the wizards were charlatans and the kings their dupes and puppets. Only Basil is not convinced–nor is he convinced that the city has seen its last king…
The magic of history and the enchantment of an extraordinary story come together in this novel of beguiling romance and dazzling revelation. Eighteenth-century France is the setting—a time and a place where age-old superstitions shadow an age of enlightenment, where the minuet of aristocratic life is deaf to the approaching drumbeats of revolution, where elegance masks depravity and licentiousness makes mockery of love. Against this background, Berthe Duvet, maid to Adele du Fourchet, later Mme la duchesse de Malvoeux, tells her tale of a doomed society and of a family seeking to break a terrible curse.
Berthe is an orphan child brought up in the green rooms of the Paris theatre when she enters the service of the beautiful young girl who is to be her lifelong mistress and charge. Her sharp eyes and sharper tongue record the intrigues and amours of a world of privilege and perversity, in which she and Adele must come of age in very different ways. Then, with Adele’s marriage…[more]