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Ombria in Shadow (original 2002; edition 2003)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0441010164, Paperback)As Ombria in Shadow demonstrates, World Fantasy Award winner Patricia A. McKillip (author of Riddle-Master, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, and other novels) ranks with Ursula K. Le Guin and Jane Yolen as one of the great fantasists of the 20th century--and the 21st.
The Prince of Ombria lies dying, and already his sinister great-aunt, Domina Pearl--called the Black Pearl--is seizing power. The Prince's heir is a child, a boy too young to oppose her, and the Prince's nephew is a powerless bastard, an artist preoccupied with sketching the decaying city. No one lives who may stop the Black Pearl's ascent to the throne, or so it seems. But beneath the streets of Ombria lies a second, shadow Ombria, a buried city inhabited not only by ghosts, but by a powerful, mysterious sorceress and her creation, a girl sculpted from wax. But the sorceress is a woman of uncertain allegiances, and her beautiful young assistant has become fascinated by the Prince's bastard nephew--and has caught the malevolent eye of the Black Pearl. --Cynthia Ward
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:31 -0400)
"Ombria. It is a city that echoes with the footfalls of sapphire-heeled shoes...that holds its breath as a straw-haired apparition glides through its streets...that sees its dreams - and nightmares - take shape in the drawings of a bastard-heir. It is an enchanted time and place envisioned by World Fantasy Award winner Patricia A. McKillip, acclaimed author of The Tower at Stony Wood." "When Ombria's prince, Royce Greve, breathes his last in palace rooms high above the city, he leaves his young son at the mercy of his ancient great-aunt, Domina Pearl - a woman who has plotted her rise to power in Ombria for far too many years to allow a little boy to stand in her way. Already she has thrown Greve's pretty mistress out into the streets, where no one would expect her to live an hour. The boy will take her a little longer." "Meanwhile, in a dreamlike underworld peopled by Ombria's ghosts, a sorceress weaves her spells and brews her potions, never revealing her real face - or true heart. And somewhere in between, the struggle to rule the whole of Ombria - both its light and shadows - will rest in the hands of those whose fractured lives align like the pieces of a magical puzzle."
(summary from another edition)
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