The Privilege of the Sword

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9781931520201: The Privilege of the Sword

“Unholy fun, and wholly fun . . . an elegant riposte, dazzlingly executed.”—Gregory Maguire

“Spiced with humor and spot-on period detail.”—Library Journal (starred review)

Sent to live with her uncle, Katherine imagines a rich and luxurious life. Her dreams evaporate when she discovers her uncle wants her to be something never before seen: a swordswoman.

Ellen Kushner is the author of Swordspoint.

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About the Author:

Ellen Kushner is a novelist, performer, and public radio personality. Her work includes the weekly national public radio series PRI's Sound & Spirit with Ellen Kushner, the recording The Golden Dreydl: A Klezmer 'Nutcracker' for Chanukah (Rykodisc CD) and a live performance piece, Esther: The Feast of Masks.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

No one sends for a niece they’ve never seen before just to annoy her family and ruin her life. That, at least, is what I thought. This was before I had ever been to the city. I had never been in a duel, or held a sword myself. I had never kissed anyone, or had anyone try to kill me, or worn a velvet cloak. I had certainly never met my Uncle the Mad Duke. Once I met him, much was explained. On the day we received my uncle’s letter, I was in the pantry counting our stock of silverware. Laden with lists, I joined my mother in the sunny parlor over the gardens, where she was hemming kerchiefs. We did these things ourselves, these days. Outside, I could hear the crows cawing in the hills, and the sheep bleating over them. I wasn’t looking at her; my eyes were on the papers before me, and I was worrying about the spoons, which needed polishing, but we might have to sell them, so why bother now? "313 spoons" I said, consulting the lists. "We’re short three spoons from last time, Mother." She did not reply. I looked up; my mother was staring out the window and gnawing on one end of her silky hair. I wish I had hair like that; mine curls, in all the wrong ways. "Do you think" she said at last, ‘that we should have that tree taken down? "We’re doing silver inventory" I said sternly, "and we’re short." "Are you sure you have the right list? When did we count them last? "Gregory’s coming-of-age party, I think. My hands smelt of polish all through dinner. And he never even thanked me for it, the pig." "Oh, Katherine." My mother has a way of saying my name as though it were an entire speech. This one included When will you and How silly and I couldn’t do without you all at once. But I wasn’t in the mood to hear it. While it must be done and there is no sense shirking, counting silver is not my favorite chore, although it ranks above fine needlework and making jam. "I bet no one likes Greg there in the city, either, unless he’s learned to be nicer to people." There was a sudden jerky movement as she set her sewing down. I waited to be chastised. The silence became frightening. I looked to see that her hands were clutching the work down on her lap, regardless of what that was doing to the linen. She was holding her head very high, which was a mistake, because the moment I looked I knew from the set of her mouth and the wideness of her eyes that she was trying not to cry. Softly I put down my papers and knelt at her side, nestling in her skirts where I felt safe.

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Book Description Small Beer Press, United States, 2006. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Unholy fun, and wholly fun .an elegant riposte, dazzlingly executed. -Gregory Maguire Spiced with humor and spot-on period detail. -Library Journal (starred review) Sent to live with her uncle, Katherine imagines a rich and luxurious life. Her dreams evaporate when she discovers her uncle wants her to be something never before seen: a swordswoman. Ellen Kushner is the author of Swordspoint. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781931520201

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