Judith Tarr

American fantasy writer, historian

Judith Tarr (born in Augusta, Maine, January 30, 1955) is an American fantasy and science fiction author.


All page numbers are from the mass market first edition published by Bantam Spectra ISBN 0-553-28145-3
  • “I would tell you that the West is sadly fallen. What men knew once, they know no longer, nor want to know. It is all iron and edged blades, and lord smiting lord for a fistful of power. They dream of empires, and they kill for a furlong of wasteland.
    “But I, my lord, I want to know what the world is.”
    • Chapter 1 (p. 13)
  • You are a fool, sir priest. Ignorance may excuse you. It will certainly kill you.
    • Chapter 2 (p. 18)
  • “So eager still! Do you never tire?”
    “Oh, yes, my Lord,” said Gerbert. “But when I’ve struggled long and hard, and then at last I understand, I forget everything but that.”
    • Chapter 2 (p. 21)
  • Gerbert recognized quality in the plainness of the woman’s robe, and in the carving of a lintel, and in the hanging of a rug on a whitewashed wall. The only magic in it was the alchemy of taste.
    • Chapter 2 (p. 24)
  • I am asking you to help me. Our mutual master would stride naked into the desert, trusting in God and in his own brilliance to shield him from the sun. But the desert knows only that it is. Neither gods nor cleverness mean anything to it.
    • Chapter 8 (p. 89)
  • Traitors were not cherished even by those who bought them.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 121)
  • In that instant, Gerbert hated him with a perfect hate. A monster, one could comprehend, and even forgive: one could see that a devil had possessed him. This flawless selfishness was beyond endurance.
    • Chapter 11 (p. 131)
  • May God preserve us from an honest pope.
    • Chapter 15 (p. 184)
  • “Peace.” Gerbert rolled the word on his tongue. “Is that what it is? I’d been calling it happiness.”
    • Chapter 16 (p. 196)
  • There was no help for it. He was what he was, and that was an incorrigible meddler. Which, he reflected, was not an inadequate description of a mage.
    • Chapter 19 (p. 225)
  • Now there was sophistry. A mage was a perilous beast, but a mage who was also a logician and a theologian was deadly enough to outface the devil himself.
    • Chapter 19 (p. 234)
  • “You weren’t waiting up for me, were you?”
    Gerbert shrugged. “You know how little I sleep. I was contemplating my sins.”
    “Sleep will do you more good.”
    • Chapter 21 (p. 255)
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