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Songmaster


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M ikal had conquered most of the inhabited worlds in the Galaxy, and the others tremble in fear of his armies. But he came to the Songhouse on Tew as a suppliant, asking for the services of one of the supremely gifted "Songbirds." It took the better part of a century to find the Songbird suited to Mikal-Ansset, The nine-year-old orphan who had been trained into a singer unequaled in the Songhouse's history.

The battle-scarred old Emperor came to look upon the boy as a son, and so for the first time in his life became vulnerable. It was therefore shocking, but not unexpected, when Mikal's enemies kidnapped Ansset ... and turned him into a living weapon of destruction.

Ansset and Mikal surmounted that crisis, but there were others-and, as Mikal foresaw, the day came when he was betrayed and overthrown. The last and hardest lesson he had to teach Ansset was to use his art to its fullest in loyal service to the traitor who had cost Mikal his throne ... and his life.

Mikal's legacy sustained his successor and in turn Ansset himself when the responsibility of Mikal's empire fell to him. Yet all his life Ansset knew himself for an exile from the Songhouse as a Songbird who had betrayed his gift by using it to wield power.

There was one way he could return-at an unbearably high cost-and the day came when he took that way.


"Songmaster recording gets rave review from Booklist, AudioFile"

From Booklist: "Rudnicki beautifully depicts the many characters in Card's masterful and moving tale of Ansset, kidnapped as a young child and raised at a remote compound known as Songhouse. . . . Rudnicki's poignant characterizations of Ansset and the emperor deeply reverberate with an emotional authenticity. His reading complements this novel, which meditates on the quest for identity and a sense of belonging."

From AudioFile: "Stefan Rudnicki narrates this novel with the power that the prose demands. . . . Rudnicki, when called upon to do so, sings lines with an understated grace that effectively suggests the great abilities of the characters doing the singing."

From Orson Scott Card: "This story remains one of the most emotional I've ever written, and I'm grateful to Stefan for having given it such a powerful performance."

Copyright © 1978 Orson Scott Card

Published by The Dial Press
Jacket illustration by Lucinda Cowell


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