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The Spirit Ring (1992)

by Lois McMaster Bujold

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,2852313,193 (3.55)34
When her father, a goldsmith and master mage, dies during the siege of their Italian village, fifteen-year-old Fiametta finds her own fledgling magic tested in the ensuing battle against the evil Lord Ferrante.

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» See also 34 mentions

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In an alternate Renaissance Italy where the church regulates magic and licenses magicians, fiery Fiametta Beneforte wants to be more than her goldsmith-mage father's unpaid apprentice. But when the Duchy of Montefoglia is laid under military and magical siege, she unexpectedly must join with Thur Ochs, a young Swiss miner and foundryman, to tap their skills in both metalwork and necromancy to rescue her father's soul and combat an evil sorcerer.
  Gmomaj | Jun 8, 2021 |
I'm giving this one a bit less that I normally give my favorite author but the book was not quite up to my (admittedly high) expectations. Was this an early work? ( )
  frfeni | Jan 31, 2021 |
Good story with interesting historical antecedents from an excellent author. ( )
  jamespurcell | Feb 10, 2020 |
Fantasy set in Renaissance Italy. When Fiametta attends a banquet with her father, a master mage and goldsmith, she witnesses a violent coup. She flees -- and meets Thur, a guardsmen’s younger brother, who is coming to Montefolgia for an apprenticeship.

This was published in 1992, when Bujold had already published half a dozen Vorkosigan books and won a few Hugos -- and I love her first, unarguably less-polished, novel -- so I wasn’t expecting this to feel so, well, rough by comparison. That said, bits of it still shine! The plot makes every detail count, the final confrontation is memorable and I liked the characters. And it was interesting to consider this as a precursor to Bujold’s World of the Five Gods.

(A thought: Bujold’s strength lies in writing women who have experience, rather than fiery-but-sheltered teenage girls.) ( )
1 vote Herenya | Sep 14, 2019 |
Lovely. I haven't read it in years (apparently, not since well before I was on LT - more than 10 years, at least), but it was quite familiar to me. Not details, but the general plot. Interesting setting - pre-unified Italy, broken up between dozens of competing and warring city-states - plus magic. Fiametta, the goldsmith/master mage's daughter, hasn't gotten a great deal of magic training but more than some people are comfortable with. When war comes and disrupts...well, everything...she and assorted allies come up with some creative fixes to deal with the invader and the mage who serves and drives him. As Fiametta points out near the end, it really takes the whole team to deal with all aspects of the problem, magical and physical. The romance is unusually sensible - it's a consideration, but unlike many such stories the action doesn't stop so the participants can wallow in the romance. A very rich, and clearly very memorable, story. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Jan 19, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bujold, Lois McMasterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eggleton, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hickman, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Jim and Trudie
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Fiametta turned the lump of warm reddish clay in her hand.
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Also published as Fiametta's Ring.
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When her father, a goldsmith and master mage, dies during the siege of their Italian village, fifteen-year-old Fiametta finds her own fledgling magic tested in the ensuing battle against the evil Lord Ferrante.

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