Mon 29 Sep 2008
Vera Nazarian is the head of Norilana Books, a small press born just over two years ago in California. In a strange way, reviewing a book written by Vera Nazarian when she’s the head of the publisher would also be an example of self-publishing, but considering that she’s published several other novels with various other publishers, I don’t think this was her main impetus. She’s quite amazing, in that in addition to being the head of the publisher, she also does nearly everything else, including book design, cover design, and web geekery. Norilana specializes in reprints of classics (such as very lovely editions of two of Georges Sands’s novels) as well as original titles; they have more than ten different imprints, and more might be coming. I included Norilana in the first installment of Small Press Week, but I happened to have a second novel (novella, actually) of theirs to read, so I included this one. The Duke in his Castle was published on June 1st of this year.
Rossian, the Duke of Violet, like all the other dukes in his country (all named after colors), is imprisoned in his castle. They have been thus for several generations now; other people are free to come and go, but the dukes, duchesses, and their heirs cannot leave. It is not very healthy for them; Rossian feels that he is dying a slow death. When an emissary from the Duchess of White comes, bearing a box of bones that she swears belong to Nairis the Fabled One, he treats her as a combination of distraction and annoyance. It’s been said that if one of the dukes, duchesses, or heirs can discover the secret of each of the other houses (a secret arcane power), then the spell of imprisonment will be broken. Is that what the White Duchess’s emissary wants? (more…)