Kushiel's Dart was a fabulously over-written and steamy fantasy set in an Alternate France where the dominant religion is the worship of Elua, a godling created from Christ's blood and the Magdalen's tears - a religion that is sort of Christianity with sex and drugs. In this world, Christianity pretty much took over Judaism, but never became a religion with broader appeal. By now it is the late middle ages and things are getting complicated...
Our heroine is a bisexual masochist courtesan who is a key player in the game of thrones, a spymistress and occasional assassin, who is the chosen human agent of Elua and several of his angels. Her major enemy is a noblewoman who is after the throne - and the fact that these two have the passionate hots for each other after a night of wild SM sex early in the first book is just a complication for both of them.
I realized that I love the books because they are sexy and intelligent - our heroine is smarter than she is good at fighting, partly because she has a couple of sidekicks to do the heavy lifting. And they are books in which there is real evil - one of the things that stops young Phaedra ever hating her enemy Melisande is that there are much nastier people than Melisande in this world once you get out of Europe, as Phaedra does in the third book.
She clearly is not going to write a fourth, yet and her next project is a stand-alone. Occasionally, though, you really hope that a writer will compromise their integrity down the track a little. And give me what I want.
Everyone was annoyed when Charles Clarke, the Secretary of Education, said that he did not think the state should fund mediaeval scholars at university. Now he clearly did say this, but now he is saying he was misquoted, and claiming instead that what he meant was that he did not think that the state should fund universities as communities of scholars, and that the idea of universities as such was a mediaeval one.
Which is so much more appalling.
The Blair government is as philistine as the Tories - they really want education to be purely vocational, except when it is their mad Evangelical friends teaching creationism in schools.
And I love the way Gunn, at a key moment, says 'Never Give Up; Never Surrender' because he knows it is a line from Galaxy Quest and none of his friends get it. And Gunn is a big geek and suddenly for the first time ever I love him.
If any of the bitching about Sarah Michelle Gellar is true then the big confrontation at the end of 'Empty Places' must have been wonderful fun for everyone else to shoot. They get to betray her ass all over the screen and tell her she is crap. Imagine how that must have felt...