In this epic new work, the award-winning Kenyon, whose work has be compared to Larry Nivens and Stephen R. Donaldson, creates an alternate Earth in the 19th century. This Earth is ruled by two warring factions—scientific Anglica (England) and magical Bharata (India). Tori Harding, a Victorian woman, whose heart aches to claim the legendary powers of the golden lotus, must leave her reasoned world behind and journey to Bharata. In pursuit of the golden lotus, Tori will be forced to brave its magics, intrigues, deadly secrets and haunted places, to claim her destiny and choose between two lovers in two irreconcilable realms. As a great native insurrection sweeps the continent of Bharata—Tori will find the thing she most desires, beautifully flawed and more wonderfully strange than she could have ever dreamed.
Praise for A Thousand Perfect Things:
"This has become my favorite of all Kay Kenyon's books. The science-driven men of Anglica have constructed a marvel of engineering-a bridge that crosses the ocean-but they don't understand the mystical forces they're facing in the dangerously seductive country of Bharata. As usual, Kenyon offers flawless world-building and a diverse cast of characters driven by conflicting and wholly believable desires. This is a rich, gorgeous, and marvelously detailed tapestry of a book." -- Sharon Shinn, Author of Troubled Waters and Royal Airs
"Kay Kenyon has once again created a world into which one blissfully disappears, replete with magic and monsters, romance and reigning dynasties, set upon the fragile social scaffolding of mid-nineteenth century England. The story is, literally and figuratively, a bridge between the mystical and the very real, with a young heroine who a delivers a deliciously vicarious ride. Brilliantly told with elegant yet occasionally jarring prose, A Thousand Perfect Things is a masterwork from the mind of one of our best authors of compelling alternate realities." -- Larry Brooks, Author of Story Engineering
She met Jessa on the walkway between the greenhouse cottage and the great house.
"A visitor!" Jessa declared, waving a note. "Arriving this afternoon."
"Captain Edmond Muir-Smith. He's coming to visit Papa."
Tori vaguely remembered that a Muir-Smith had served under her father in the Pict campaign.
Jessa's color was high. "Mama's in a tempest, though he's just an army officer. One to whom I suppose papa will try to marry me off."
With her sister's recent broken engagement tarnishing her prospects, any eligible male visitor raised immediate interest. "How old is this one?"
"Twenty-eight. A captain in the King's Company of the fusiliers. And he's taller than I am."
Tori felt a smile break out. "How long do we have to tear apart the closet to find something to wear?"
Jessa grinned. "Not long enough."
Looking at her sister, Tori could not imagine that she wouldn't impress the captain no matter what she wore, with her light brown tresses framing a heart-shaped face.
Looking back toward the library, Tori said, "I'll be right up."
As Jessa ran off, Tori paused, glancing up at the sycamore tree. It always managed to gather shadows this time of day. With its flaking bark and patches of dusty green algae it was easy to see in it something that wasn't there.
Oh, but this time, it was. Her throat went dry.
It perched on a branch quite close to the trunk of the nearest tree. At first impression, it was an owl with bluish purple feathers. Its rotund body was very bird-like, but it wasn't a natural creature, not with that visage. The face was almost human. A bulbous nose flabbed down the length of its face so that both human and owl aspects were equally repugnant.
Its head rotated around to her. Large eyes, chillingly light-filled, met hers. She backed up a step. It was . . . it had to be, a manifestation of magic. Do not be afraid, she charged herself.
She shivered under that maladroit gaze. Sometimes magic killed, Anglics had come to learn. Such visitations were called contagions, a term that so perfectly represented Anglic fear of the unscientific. Sometimes contagions presaged a malign event: for example the disaster in Oxfordshire when the train went off its tracks and went four miles before plunging over a cliff. But that said nothing about magic as a practice, for any endeavor might be turned to horrid purpose by those who abused knowledge. She did not wish to judge the intrusion in the sycamore. But the face . . .
It looked away, as though to prove it had other business. But then, slowly, the head swiveled back in her direction. Her stomach tightened. Oh, it looked at her. Assessed her. She yanked her gaze away, lest its eyes drag something out of her--she knew not what.
Why had it come? Oh, leave us in peace, she wanted to plead, but found herself unable to speak. Backing up, she felt a most unseemly haste to be away from it, and turning, rushed up the walkway.
Kay Kenyon is the author of eleven science fiction and fantasy novels, including A Thousand Perfect Things. She is the author of the critically acclaimed science fiction quartet, The Entire and The Rose. Bright of the Sky was among PW's top 150 books of 2007. The series has twice been shortlisted for the ALA Reading List awards and three times for the Endeavour Award. Four of her novels have been translated into French, Spanish and Czech. Along with her novels Tropic of Creation and Maximum Ice, two of the works in the quartet received starred reviews from PW.
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