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McIntyre, Vonda N.

The Moon and the Sun

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New York Times bestselling author Vonda N. McIntyre proves she is "blessed with both vision and genius" (BookPage) in this breathtaking tale -- part adventure story, part legend, and part Gothic novel-- what Publishers Weekly calls "a marvelous alternative history fable."

In seventeenth-century France, Louis XIV rules with flamboyant ambition. From the Hall of Mirrors to the vermin-infested attics of the Chateau at Versailles, courtiers compete to please the king, sacrificing fortune, principles, and even the sacred bond between brother and sister.
Marie-Josèphe de la Croix looks forward to assisting her adored brother in the scientific study of the rare sea monsters the king has commissioned him to seek. For the honor of his God, his country, and his king, Father Yves de la Croix returns with his treasures, believed to be the source of immortality: one heavy shroud packed in ice...and a covered basin that imprisons a shrieking creature.
The living sea monster, with its double tail, tangled hair, and gargoyle face, provides an intriguing experiment for Yves and the king. Yet for Marie-Josèphe, the creature's gaze and exquisite singing foretell a different future....
Soon Marie-Josèphe is contemplating choices that defy the institutions which power her world. Somehow, she must find the courage to follow her heart and her convictions -- even at the cost of changing her life forever.
A sensitive investigation of the integrity in all of us, The Moon and the Sun is destined to become a visionary classic.
In this rich and engrossing tale, Vonda N. McIntyre proves once again that her plotting and mastery of language are among the best in the business. The Moon and the Sun, which won the 1997 Nebula Award for best novel of the year, is the story of Marie-Josèphe, a young lady in the court of Louis XIV. When her brother Yves returns from a naturalist voyage with two sea monsters (one live, one dead), Marie-Josèphe is caught up in a battle of wills involving the fate of the living creature. The king intends to test whether the sea monster holds the secrets of immortality, but Marie-Josèphe knows the creature to be an intelligent, lonely being who yearns only to be set free. In a monumental test of the limits of patience and love, Marie-Josèphe defies the will of the king, her brother, and the pope in defense of what she knows is right, at any cost. McIntyre's atmospheric prose envelops the reader in a fully realized world--sights, smells, and sounds are described in great detail. The author completely represents the Sun King's court at Versailles--her research for the book must have been quite extensive. The blend of history, science, and fantasy makes for a book you will want to gulp down. --Therese Littleton