The Spirit Ring

  • by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by Jessica Almasy
  • 12 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Fiametta Beneforte dreamed of making beautiful and enchanted objets d'art, but alas her magician-goldsmith father was more likely to have her scrub the kiln than study magic. After all, it was a waste to train a mere daughter beyond the needs of the moment.
Thur Ochs dreamed of escaping the icy mines of Bruinwald. But the letter from his brother, Uri, arranging his apprenticeship to Master Beneforte was not the only force that drew him over the mountains to the Duchy of Montefoglia....
A betrayal at a banquet plunges Thur and Fiametta into a struggle against men who would use vile magic for vile ends. The needs of this desperate moment will require all their wits, all their talents, and all their courage, if they are to rescue both Montefoglia and the souls of those they most love.


What the Critics Say

"[An] enthralling dark fantasy set in Renaissance Italy, where the church regulates magic and licenses magicians.... In a perfectly natural manner, Bujold incorporates the concept of magic into this crisply paced, fully developed tale. She notes that Benvenuto Cellini served as the inspiration for the hugely talented, hugely egocentric Beneforte." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

On the whole, a disappointment

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The Spirit Ring is clearly early Bujold, but loads of fun anyway - except that this reader is so over the top in her reading that I found it hard to listen to and may not finish it in spite of my loving Lois Bujold's work. There are odd pauses and cadences to the reading that seem to have nothing to do with the actual sentence being read. At one point a character wails something, and it's read like an Old Testament prophet thundering, rather than being the voice of terror and despair.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jessica Almasy?

Bernedette Dunn, who read The Sharing Knife books by Bujold would have done a better job of it.

Do you think The Spirit Ring needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

no, it's complete in itself.

Any additional comments?

Fantasy lovers should find a copy of this book to read - it's very good - but I'd appreciate any other reviewers who might have found different things in the narrator than I did.

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- Becca

Thin Bujold

This is an early work--not the Bujold who has since learned to keep us totally engaged and convinced, who surprises us with both her inventiveness and her underlying wisdom about human nature, its foibles and its glories. Her characteristic wit is here, and her plot, though quite simple, is well fashioned and reasonably satisfying in the end but, like MIles Vorkosigan in his youth, between the flashes of brilliance here there is a good deal that is unremarkable and sometimes even banal.

There is, however, still more than enough imaginative story telling and good humor to provide an entertaining and sometimes delightful read. This is especially true if you have read Cellini's "Autobiography," since Bujold recasts the old scoundrel in her tale to great effect, even including the casting of his great, bronze Perseus as a major plot point. What is more, her appropriation of Renaissance Italy as her setting for magical and political skulduggery is artful and entirely apt. (I wonder if this book inspired Dave Duncans‘s enjoyable series of magical adventure novels set in Venice during the same period.)

As other reviewers have mentioned, the narration is problematic. While Almasy’s enunciation is particularly clear and her energy is wonderful, she makes the protagonist sound like a bit of an airhead, and too often she mispronounces words or mangles the shape of a sentence. I agree that a much more thorough pre-reading was in order. It was particularly strange to hear her mispronounce one word in its first appearance and correct it in subsequent usages.
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- David "Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-14-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios