Monday, April 14, 2008

The Invisible Ring; Anne Bishop

Published by ROC in in October 2000 and written by Anne Bishop, The Invisible Ring is set in the same universe as Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy and related books and short stories. After reading and digesting it I am reminded of an issue that came up when I started reading the Miles Vorkosigan (written by Lois McMaster Bujold) books. Namely, which order do you want to read them in? Published or chronological? Now the Vorkosigan saga is much longer, but the comparison is apt, I think. Despite being listed on various sites as the fourth book in the Black Jewels trilogy, The Invisible Ring is set before the trilogy begins. Chronological order works best for me, and now I wish I'd read this one before I read the trilogy.

Lord Jared has been sent to the biannual slave auction at Raej. Why? He's a Queen killer. Murdered the last Queen who wore his Controlling ring. So he's going to be sent to the salt mines in Pruul via the slave auctions. Except, Grizelle the Gray Queen buys him. And plans to take them to her Territory, Dena Nehele. Jared has heard nothing but rumors about Grizelle and Dena Nehele, and not a single positive thing.

Unfortunately, Dorothea SaDiablo is out to kill Grizelle and she's willing to use every weapon in her considerable arsenal to achieve this goal. A new master of the guard, spells specific to this task, and an endless wellspring of powerhungriness amorality and cruelty. Lucklily for Grizelle and her little band of slaves, Daemon Sadi saw Jared in the auction pen and decided to help out as much as he could.

Will Grizelle make it to Dena Nehele? Will Jared and the other males be able to protect everyone long enough to make it over the border? Will the reader's heart survive Dorothea's agonizing activities? Is the invisible ring real or not? Is Garth what Jared thinks he is? Will Jared make it to Shalador or Dena Nehele? Neither? And who is the Rogue sapphire warlord? For, like in all good books, all is not what it seems.

Anyhow, I think any new Anne Bishop reader would do well to read The Invisible Ring before reading the Black Jewels trilogy or any of the related pieces. Ms. Bishop fleshes out the role of pleasure slaves, details what the Blood is supposed to be and gives a reader an inkling of the true price of Dorothea's schemes would be if she succeeds. Not to mention making Daemon much more mysterious, thereby priming the reader for the trilogy. Excellent book. Buy all four at the same time and read this one first. BTW, this is being reissued month after next in June in trade paperback size with a new sexy cover. Click here to see Amamzon's page.

1 comment:

Noctame said...

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