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Paladin of Souls Audiobook, by Lois McMaster Bujold Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Curse of Chalion Series Release Date: June 2005 ISBN: 9781483070445
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (7,799 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Three years have transpired since the dowager widow Royina Ista escaped the curse of insanity that held her in her family's castle. Freedom may cost her much; however, as memory, regret, and guilt hover over her, she sets on a quest, to find a different kind of freedom.

What else has been released besides Royina? The demons and gods beyond the border fortress of Porifors. Though Royina wants to think that she and her wandering entourage move about of their own accord, something more sinister on that side could be guiding their path.

Encountering a warrior noble, Royina becomes uncertain of how long their alliance will last, for their secrets seem woven together by a fate beyond their control. Will the gods ask again for Royina to set her country on the brink of destruction? Find out in this second book of the Chalion series: Paladin of Souls.

Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949 in Ohio. She is a science fiction and fantasy writer, one of the most renowned in her genres, winning the Hugo Award four times, once for Paladin of Souls. She attributes her love of science fiction to her father, a world famous engineer, and has often felt she had to grow out from under the shadow of his prestige. Overcoming rejection of her writing, she eventually found success. She now lives in Minnesota and is divorced, with two children.

Follow Lois McMaster Bujold, one of the most honored authors in the field of fantasy and science fiction, to a land threatened by treacherous war and beset by demons.

Three years have passed since the widowed Dowager Royina Ista found release from the curse of madness that kept her imprisoned in her family’s castle at Valenda. Yet her newfound freedom is bittersweet, and so the road, and escape, beckons.

As Ista and her little party of pilgrims wander at will, they are unexpectedly set upon. But a mysterious ally appears, a warrior nobleman who fights like a berserker. The temporary safety of her enigmatic champion’s castle cannot ease Ista’s mounting dread, however, when she finds his dark secrets are entangled with hers in a net of the gods’ own weaving.

What the inscrutable gods commanded of her in the past brought her land to the brink of devastation. Now, once again, they have chosen Ista as their instrument. And again, for good or for ill, she must comply.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Rich in sumptuous detail and speculative theology…This engaging installment of Chalion’s mythical history whets the appetite for new marvels yet to come.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Bujold’s sequel to The Curse of Chalion introduces a middle-aged heroine of great courage and hidden resources. [Bujold] demonstrates her storytelling skill and artful humor in an engaging fantasy that belongs in most libraries.”

    Library Journal

  • “Superbly and smartly written, this novel will entice even those readers not traditionally drawn to fantasy.”


  • “The highlight of this book is its deep, believable, and sympathetic characters. The plot becomes almost secondary to the mesmerizing Ista, and the minor characters are just as compelling. With its high adventure, sorcery, and spirituality, this tale will enchant the most jaded reader.”

    RT Book Reviews (4½ stars, Top Pick!)

  • “A wonderful example of the perfect pairing of story and voice...Kate Reading sounds like royalty in every book she narrates…her ability to enunciate without sounding like she is working at it lends itself beautifully to Lady Ista…[A] step above the ordinary in fantasy literature and audiobooks.”

  • Winner of the 2004 Nebula Award for Best Novel
  • Winner of the 2004 Hugo Award for Best Novel
  • Winner of the 2004 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel

Listener Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie | 1/28/2014

    " Wow, I can see why this won so many awards. I couldn't put it down! I found both the main character and storyline more engaging in this book than in the prequel (Curse of Chalion, which had a much more traditional storyline). I highly recommend it if you like fantasy novels. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Holly | 1/22/2014

    " Anything by Bujold is amazing, and this was no exception. I didn't care as much for Ista, though, as I did Cazaril, the main character of the first book in the series. But the plot, as always, was killer! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hallie | 1/1/2014

    " It would have got a 5 for the wonderful gods, especially the Bastard, but for the fat character's presentation - "lardy" as a descriptive adjective for someone's face is just not on - and he was wasted, dwindling into a caricature. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Korynn | 12/29/2013

    " Okay, reading the Curse of Chalion helps to understand references in this book, such as the world in which the characters move and introductions to the characters, but I enjoyed this book WAY more than COC and so highly recommend it. It features an older woman who realizes that she has a second chance for a new life and how she battles herself and heals her wounds and generally comes to understand herself and her past choices, reconciling her past with her future, and finally embracing her value as a whole person. It's spiritual and profound and an epic journey with demons and battle. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dawn | 12/14/2013

    " As per usual, I am reading a series out of order. There was just enough info about the first book to fill me in though and I still found this, the middle book, a enthralling read. Filled with gods interfering in mortals lives, demons, and a reluctant heroine, it was good enough to keep me up 'til all hours to finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becky | 12/3/2013

    " Love this whole series and the Vorkosigan saga, too! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 4/30/2013

    " Fantasy novel with medieval setting. The second in a trilogy. I liked this almost as much as the first in the series, The Curse of Chalion. A middle-aged woman from a royal household is given powers by her god to do battle with demons that are attacking her homeland. Swords, sorcery, and romance. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dennis | 1/22/2013

    " pretty interesting and engaging...the ending was kinda sappy but i would def read more books by Bujold "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natalie | 8/20/2012

    " I don't usually read fantasy...It weirds me out if it get too, you know, fantastical. This was nice, though. A element of fantasy, cleverly woven into a beautiful story of failure and redemption. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole | 6/29/2012

    " Just as detailed and in-depth as the other Chalion books. I love it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dudley | 2/14/2012

    " Quite a good series - thanks for putting me onto it, Rose! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marianne | 12/14/2011

    " This one was interesting and keeps your attention, but doesn't keep up with the speed and intrigue of the first book in the series. I enjoyed the way they use parallel characters and don't just directly continue the first story. Liked it enough to keep on reading into the third book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natalie | 11/27/2011

    " Lois McMaster Bujold creates a wonderful story that follows the aging, sarcastic, and "mad" Royina Ista. Bujold's creation of the religion of the five gods is very fascinating. The plot developed in a very surprising and satisfying way. Overall, I quite enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 7/15/2011

    " I didn't like the main character in this book when she was introducted in The Curse of Chalion. However, this book redeemed her soul for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 5/10/2011

    " Number two in the trilogy "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 3/24/2011

    " Took some getting used to but worth it in the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 3/24/2011

    " Starts out a little slower, but the pace picks up and it does live up to the first book in the series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 3/13/2011

    " Possibly the best of the three, although I really liked Curse of Chalion very much. Bujold's characterization is at its best, and I do enjoy a society where the theology _works_, by which I mean the gods are as advertised. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Incandragon | 3/12/2011

    " One of top five fave fantasies, maybe one of top five books, ever. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nick | 3/11/2011

    " Good but girly fantasy (plenty of horsey action and romance). But it also had demons, sorcerors, decapitations, and possessed weasels and bears. Defintie recommendation for my fantasy pals. You may want to read the first one (Curse of Chalion) before this, but it's not necessary. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 2/18/2011

    " One of the best series I have ever read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stacey | 2/8/2011

    " awesome new writer to discover for me. apparently has received *almost* as many awards as Heinlein. Totally surprising type of book for me. Can hardly wait to read more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 1/30/2011

    " I quite liked "Paladin"; it had a different flavor than "Curse", but was still an enjoyable read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eveningstar2 | 1/30/2011

    " Bujold has a rare talent for language and syntax. "

About the Author

Lois McMaster Bujold is one of the most honored writers in the fields of science fiction and fantasy. In 2019 she was named a Damon Knight Grand Master by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, one of science fiction’s highest honors. She has won seven Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards. In 2011 she was awarded the Skylark Award for her significant contribution to science fiction. Hugo awards for Best Series were received by the Vorkosigan Saga in 2017, and the World of the Five Gods in 2018.

About the Narrator

Kate Reading has recorded hundreds of audiobooks across many genres, over a thirty year plus career. Audie Awards: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (mystery), Breasts (non-fiction), Bellwether (fiction), and Words of Radiance (fantasy), co-narrated with her husband, Michael Kramer. Among other awards, she has been recognized with: the ALA Booklist best of 2019 for Bowlaway (fiction), AudioFile Magazine Voice of the Century, Earphones Awards, Narrator of the Year, Best Voice in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Publisher’s Weekly’s Listen-Up Award. She records at her home studio, Madison Productions, Inc., in Maryland.