Friday, December 7, 2012

The Death of the Duke, by Ellen Kushner

The Death of the Duke is set in Ellen Kushner's Riverside series, as Jed Hartman indicates in its introduction.  He regards its main significance as having a gay romance at a time when this was less normal.  Maybe if you hadn't read LeGuin. In any case, the story reads as a sort of postlude to the series--the Duke was one of the protagonists of that romance, but he has had many since, and we see him here at the end of his life with a woman.  I guess it stood well enough on its own to get a World Fantasy Award nomination in 1999, but still goes to show that you should read a series from the beginning to really get it, regardless of what the author or series fans tell you.  Three stars if you read the series, 2 stars if not.

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