The Curse of Chalion

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The Curse of Chalion
The curse of chalion cover.jpg
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
Author Lois McMaster Bujold
Cover artist Doug Beekman
Country United States
Language English
Genre Fantasy novel
Publisher Eos (HarperCollins)
Publication date
August 2001
Media type Print (hardback & paperback), E-book
Pages 442 pp (hardcover)
502 pp (mass-market paperback)
ISBN 0-380-97901-2
OCLC 44979697
813/.54 21
LC Class PS3552.U397 C87 2001
Followed by Paladin of Souls

The Curse of Chalion is a 2001 fantasy novel by Lois McMaster Bujold. In 2002 it won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature and was nominated for the Hugo, World Fantasy, and Locus Fantasy Awards in 2002.[1]

Both The Curse of Chalion and its sequel Paladin of Souls (2003) are set in the landlocked medieval kingdom of Chalion. The Hallowed Hunt (2005) is a novel that takes place in the Weald to the south of Chalion and two to three hundred years earlier.

Plot summary[edit]

Lupe dy Cazaril, a castillar (a knight or minor baron), returns home to the Royacy (Kingdom) of Chalion a broken man, though he is only in his mid-thirties. "Caz", as he is known to his friends, had defended a castle during a long siege, only to be ordered to surrender it. Afterward, a jealous enemy had seen to it that he was not ransomed (as were the rest of his men), but sold into slavery, spending 19 months as a galley slave before finally escaping.

His old noble patroness finds a use for him as a tutor for her granddaughter, the Royesse (Princess) Iselle, half-sister to the king, and her companion, Lady Betriz. Despite his ardent desire to live a safely low-profile, peaceful life, Caz finds himself drawn into a strange journey of dangers both spiritual and temporal as he seeks to dispel the debilitating curse that hangs over the royal family of Chalion.

Allusions/references to actual history and geography[edit]

Chalion is a looking-glass version of the kingdom of Castile and León, and the novel is loosely based on the lives of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, the unifiers of Spain.[2] However, the story of The Curse of Chalion is not simply a retelling of the lives of Isabella and Ferdinand, and Chalion is not simply Castile. The story takes quite a different path from the historical one, and the major characters are distinct personalities, not simply versions of historical people.

Iselle's mother Ista, heroine of the sequel Paladin of Souls, is based on Isabella of Portugal. Iselle's father Roya (King) Ias is based on John II of Castile, whose favorite Alvaro de Luna inspired Bujold's Arvol dy Lutez. Iselle's half-brother Orico represents Henry IV of Castile, who was called "the Impotent", and her full brother Teidez corresponds to Alfonso Prince of Asturias. The geography is likewise based on that of the Iberian Peninsula in the 15th century—but mirrored, north for south. Chalion is Castile; Ibra is Aragon and Valencia; South Ibra is Catalonia; Brajar is Portugal; the Roknari princedoms are Al-Andalus; and Darthaca is France.[3] The description of the Chalionese royal castle called "the Zangre" exactly matches the Alcázar of Segovia.


  1. ^ "2002 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-11. 
  2. ^ "The curse of Chalion: a fantasy novel based on Spanish history". Retrieved 2014-10-11. 
  3. ^ as shown on the map:

External links[edit]