First edition cover
|Cover artist||John Jude Palencar|
|12 June 2006|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||768 pp (first edition, hardback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-446-50002-X (first edition, hardback)|
|LC Class||PS3603.A74 K85 2006|
|Preceded by||Kushiel's Avatar|
|Followed by||Kushiel's Justice|
Kushiel's Scion is the 2006 novel by Jacqueline Carey, following on from the Kushiel's Legacy trilogy (Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, and Kushiel's Avatar). It is the first part of the Imriel Trilogy, followed by Kushiel's Justice and Kushiel's Mercy.
To find his lost mother, the mission of his foster mother and his own personal quest, he must discover who trained Phèdre nó Delaunay's mentor, Anafiel Delaunay.
The Royal Prince
The first book in this series begins with Imriel, at age fourteen, learning that his mother, Melisande Shahrizai has vanished from the Temple of the Asherat-of-the-Sea in La Serenissima. Instead of spending his summer at Montrève, he is summoned to court, where he meets his Shahrizai kin, who will foster with him come the following summer. The Queen, Ysandre de la Courcel, is convinced that Imriel has not been told or given any information from his mother as to where she is. His relationships with his nearest royal kin vary; Alais is as a sister to him but Sidonie de la Courcel, the Dauphine, is cold and untrusting of him.
Imriel is also given a tour of his holdings, none of which he has ever seen and are run by the local factors on his behalf. One of his holdings, Lombelon, was inherited by his mother, who took it from Isidore d'Aiglemort. There he sees a beautiful young man a year or two older than himself cutting hedges. He learns that this young man is extremely bitter and asks him why. The boy, Maslin, replies that the territory should be his but was instead given to Imriel, the spawn of traitor. Imriel investigates his claims and finds that Maslin is the illegitimate child of Isidore d'Aiglemort. D'Aiglemort had no other children and was going to give his lands to Maslin, but died before he could do so at the Battle of Troyes-Le-Mont. Imriel then takes it upon himself to right this wrong; he gets all the necessary paperwork done and to give Lombelon to Maslin. Phèdre asks Imriel if he really wants to do this, warning him that this may not make Maslin happy and could still fester. Imriel still gives Lombelon to Maslin. Maslin does not know what to say but Imriel is just happy he could right a wrong wrought by his parents.
In the summer, Mavros, Baptitse, and Roshana Sharizai come to foster at the Montreve estate, where Imriel learns more about the Kusheline side of himself. When Imriel turns sixteen, he spends a night at Balm House, at the urging of Phèdre, for the traditional celebration of a sixteenth birthday at the Night Court. The same year, Eamonn mac Grainne, son of Grainne and Quintilus Rousse, comes to foster at the Montrève residence, where he and Imriel become good friends. Imriel becomes close enough to Eamonn to tell him the horrors of Daršanga. When Eamonn leaves, he makes Imriel promise to come visit him in Tiberium, where he will be studying at the university.
At a royal hunting party all of the family and most nobles are in attendance. They are hunting a wild boar when Sidonie's horse rears and charges off, carrying Sidonie. Imriel follows and when Sidonie is thrown from the horse, he dismouts to help her up. Imriel hears rustling in the bushes and fears it is the angry boar. He dives on top of Sidonie to save her life, only to have the animal that leaves the bushes to turn out to be a deer. Sidonie is exceptionally shocked but breaks out in laughter at Imriel's face and the fact that it turned out to be a deer. During this exchange, much changes between Imriel and Sidonie. The coldness is almost instantly replaced by an extremely intense, forbidden attraction. Alais' beloved dog, however, is badly hurt by the boar. Imriel stitches the dog right there and ends up saving her life. He then affectionately jokes that he is "Imriel: saviour of dogs, protector from deer." This event causes a change in Sidonie as she realizes that she can trust Imriel and that he does not desire the throne over her.
When Imriel turns eighteen, many things change. Drustan mab Necthana and Prince Talorcan, his nephew and heir apparent, come to visit, bringing Princess Dorelei with them. It becomes apparent that as much as Drustan would like to name Alais as his heir, he cannot without risking another civil war. If Alais were to wed Talorcan, she would rule at his side but their children wouldn't inherit the throne as Alba works by matrilineal succession. However, if Imriel were to wed Dorelei, his son would become Cruarch and Terre d'Ange's influence in Alba would not wane. When Imriel learns this, he confides in Mavros. Meanwhile, it seems that Sidonie is beginning to get a crush on Imriel. While he makes no active moves and she is very covert in her desires, both know and feel them. They also know that a relationship between them can never be, given Imriel's parents and recent history. Maslin who loves Sidonie, dislikes Imriel as he suspects Imriel of coveting the throne through Sidonie. Maslin and Imriel dislike each other, and they must struggle to remain cordial to one other and not get into a fight.
Imriel begins to feel lost and confused between Sidonie's crush on him, his dislike for Maslin, and his duty to Terre d'Ange by wedding Dorelei. So Mavros and his cousins decide to braid Imriel's hair and take him to Valerian House, where he finally releases his long-held and feared desires for kinky pleasures. This throws him all into turmoil but is not a negative experience. After returning home though, he can no longer look at Phèdre because she is an anguissette, and leaves the house to drink himself into a stupor. Joscelin Verreuil goes with him as more of a protector than a comfort. This lasts for at least a couple of days.
Imriel then decides he needs some distance and decides to follow in Eamonn's footsteps by studying at the University of Tiberium. After packing lightly, Imri and Gilot, his man at arms, travel to Tiberium to seek knowledge and learning. Imriel decides that he doesn't want to be known as a prince of the realm, and is known only as Imriel nó Montreve. He shares his building with many families and there is a friendly homeless philosopher, Canis, who lives in front of his place. Canis gives Imriel a necklace with the symbol of a lamp which signifies a school of philosophy, the Cynics, telling him to wear it, which Imriel humours him by wearing.
Imriel and Gilot find Eamonn by chance, and Imri studies with him under Master Piero. Imriel also asks around the University where one might learn the arts of covertcy. Lucius, a fellow student, invites Imriel to a play, where he meets his sister, Claudia Fulvia and her husband, Deccus Fulvis (a Tiberian senator). During the play, Claudia toys with Imriel and seduces him, promising him more in the future. This leads to a heady affair between the two, with the revelation of the Unseen Guild. Claudia reveals to him that she has the status of journeyman in the Unseen Guild and that her job is to try to get him to join the Guild. During the following months, while Claudia and Imriel conduct their affair, Claudia slowly teaches Imriel the arts of covertcy. She reveals that Delaunay had been asked as well but that he had refused because he would have to swear loyalty to the Guild, which would supersede his loyalty to Prince Rolande.
A riot ensues after the senate declares that the funding to the University is to be cut off, and Imriel, Eamonn, Brigitta (a Skaldic fellow student and love interest of Eamonn), Lucius da Lucca, and Gilot get trapped in it. An attempt is made on Imriel's life, and Gilot is trampled. Gilot is taken to the Temple of Asclepius, where the priests would heal his broken and battered body. There he is told that the necklace that Canis has given him has secret writing on the side of it, indicating that he is protected. He also learns that the symbol on it is in fact that of the Unseen Guild and not that of the Cynics. When Imriel returns to his apartment Canis can not be found.
Imriel also discovers that Bernadette de Trevalion hired a hit man to kill him during the riots. Imriel decides to go to Bernadette's agent, Ruggero Caccini, and acquires enough information that he could blackmail the Trevalion household if he wanted later on.
While visiting Gilot at the Temple of Asclepius, a priest approaches Imriel and asks him to stay the night, to let Asclepius guide his dreams. In his dream, Asclepius tells him that the power to heal lies within himself, and that "even a stunted tree reaches for sunlight". When Imriel awakens, a revelation comes to him, and he decides to go home after Lucius' wedding to Helena (the daughter of the Prince of Lucca) and marry Dorelei.
Before departing for Lucca, Imriel and Gilot travel to the isle of Asclepius to unbind Gilot's splintered hand, and get a final health assessment (Gilot had some ribs broken, and if he was to engage in physical exertion, a bone fragment may puncture his lung). Upon reaching Lucca, disaster had struck. The bride-to-be had been kidnapped, her lover killed, and Lucius becomes possessed with the ghost of his great grandfather, Gallus Tadius (Leader of the Red Scourge, a mercenary company). Imriel manages to rescue the bride but cuts off the assailant's hand in the process.
While all of Imriel's friends manage to leave Lucca on the grounds of non-combatants and foreign citizens, Imriel can not. The leader of the attackers insists that if Imriel wants to leave he must pay the same price, the loss of his hand. The D'Angeline host that is negotiating on his behalf refuses and Imriel himself refuses. So Lucca comes under siege with Imriel trapped inside.
During the ensuring battle for control of Lucca, Gilot dies trying to protect Imriel and the townsfolk. Canis also bizarrely appears and helps with the forces fighting the siege. During the siege, Canis saves Imriel's life by jumping in the way of a thrown spear that would have surely killed Imriel otherwise. While dying, Canis whispers to Imriel "Your mother sends her love" with his dying breath. Imriel takes this to confirm that Canis was not really a philosopher but a member of the Unseen Guild sent by Melisande to guard Imriel. Under the command of Gallus Tadius, Lucca emerges victorious and Imriel is escorted to Terre d'Ange safely.
It is here, at home, where it is most evident just how much Imriel has grown up throughout the novel. He visits with Bernadette de Trevalion and tells her that as long as she acquits all attempts on his life and the blood feud between Bernadette and Melisande Shahrizai, the letter he has containing the proof of her guilt of her attempt on his life will never come to light. After learning that she actually loved him with Canis' final words, Imriel also finally faces his mother somewhat and finally reads her letters to him.
Imriel de la Courcel
Imriel nó Montrève de la Courcel is the son of Benedicte de la Courcel, the great-uncle of Queen Ysandre de la Courcel, and Melisande Shahrizai, a traitor who attempted to seize the d'Angeline throne in both Kushiel's Dart and Kushiel's Chosen - the latter being with the help of his father. Rescued from slavery by Phèdre nó Delaunay and her consort Joscelin Verreuil in Kushiel's Avatar, he has been formally adopted into House Montrève.
His name, Imriel, means the 'eloquence of God'. He was so named because it was the first time his mother, Melisande Shahrizai, truly felt love and was amazed at the perfection of her son.
- Jacqueline Carey's official site for the book
- Kushiel's Scion title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- In the UK the series is Treason's Heir numbers one to three, with the North American titles for each individual book.