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The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the…
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The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window [Novella]

by Rachel Swirsky

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Showing 4 of 4
This is the strange tale of a woman whose soul is kept with magic and summoned throughout millennia by a diversity of characters. It's an amazing display of imagination, at times lyrical, but most of the time plain weird. ( )
  Tacuazin | Feb 28, 2018 |
“No, Naeva. You can still help the Queen. She’s given me the keystone to a spell—a piece of pure leucite, powerful enough to tug a spirit from its rest. If I blow its power into you, your spirit won’t sink into sleep. It will only rest, waiting for her summons.”

Blood welled in my mouth. “I won’t let you bind me…”

His voice came even closer, his lips on my ear. “The Queen needs you, Naeva. Don’t you love her?”

Love: the word caught me like a thread on a bramble. Oh, yes. I loved the queen. My will weakened, and I tumbled out of my body. Cold crystal drew me in like a great mouth, inhaling.


Lady Naeva is the queen's sorceress and lover living in a strange matrilineal society, in which women are split into women and the broods who bear their children, and men are known as worms. The reader finds out in the first sentence of the story that she is dead, andI most of the story concerns the eons after her death, as Naeva's spirit is conjured back into consciousness time and time again by magicians wanting to use her power. Firstly by the queen and her daughter, and then by strangers, women who have never heard of The Land of Flowered Hills, and unbelievably to her, a long succession of the despised men.

It's a good story and I gradually realised that Naeva's attitudes were set in stone when she died. As a spirit she is unable to change, and forever thinks of men as worms, and when conjured into a body made of straw in a magic college thousands of years after her death, she will only teach the female students. ( )
  isabelx | Mar 10, 2013 |
Naeva is a great female mage but she is betrayed by her Queen and brought back from the dead to serve. Naeva though outwits the Queen and is later brought back by another, and a pattern is repeated. Great fantasy story, which gets into science fiction territory as time runs out... ( )
  AlanPoulter | Jan 31, 2011 |
The spirit of a female magician from a highly matriarchal society is preserved and brought back by successive cultures across a long span of time. Very enjoyable story with interesting magic systems. ( )
  sdobie | Dec 30, 2010 |
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