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Dust and Light

(The Sanctuary Duet #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,065 ratings  ·  128 reviews
National bestselling author Carol Berg returns to the world of her award-winning Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone with an all-new tale of magic, mystery, and corruption....

How much must one pay for an hour of youthful folly? The Pureblood Registry accused Lucian de Remeni-Masson of “unseemly involvement with ordinaries,” which meant only that he spoke with a young wo
Paperback, 445 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Roc Trade
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Contrarius Absolutely yes. There are events that overlap both books, and you won't have as broad an understanding of the worldbuilding and what's going on around…moreAbsolutely yes. There are events that overlap both books, and you won't have as broad an understanding of the worldbuilding and what's going on around the main characters, but there is nothing in the plot or characters that depends on the earlier books.(less)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  1,065 ratings  ·  128 reviews

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Mogsy (MMOGC)
Dec 05, 2013 rated it liked it
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

This is my first book by Carol Berg so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But as the start of a new series taking place in the world of her Lighthouse novels, I figured Dust and Light was a pretty good place for me to start. I ended up being very impressed with her world building, especially when it came to the conceptual framework for her magic, which I found wonderfully enticing and beautiful. However, I also thought the st
Althea Ann
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
You can always count on Berg for a great fantasy tale, and this one is a top-notch entry into her bibliography.

I thought this would be a direct sequel to the 'Lighthouse Duet': 'Flesh and Spirit' and 'Breath and Bone' - but instead, it's a separate story that takes place in the same world.

The 'Lighthouse Duet' gives us an initially unlikable protagonist named Valen, an attractive young man who becomes contracted to a doubtful master, has to learn about his magical heritage, and who goes through
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had recently read the Lighthouse duology, also by Carol Berg, and it was one of my favorite reads from the past few years. I then discovered this more recently-written second duology that's set in the same world during the same time frame, but featuring a different set of characters. This is the first book in that second duology, The Sanctuary.

As with Lighthouse, this book is told entirely from the first-person perspective of a young man. In this series, our main character’s name is Lucian. He
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Carol Berg fans, fantasy lovers
Shelves: fantasy
4.5 stars

The events of Dust and Light happen at the same time as Lighthouse novels.

Lucien is a young pureblood, grandson of the former Royal Historian. He has a rare dual bent (two magical talents). After a minor youthful indiscretion, one of them was burnt out of him and his contract sold to Pureblood Registry where he paints the portraits of other purebloods and where he could be under the constant supervision. Unlike Valen, Lucien does not chafe at rigidity of pureblood life; he cherishes the
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
This book has two major plot lines, one a conspiracy and one a murder mystery, and I think it would have been far better served if it has just focused one. As it is both story lines, which were barely connected, had the potential to be excellent but ultimately were underdone. It was still an entertaining read, and I very much enjoyed the friendship that grew between Lucian and Bastion, which is hardly a shock because male friendships have always been one of Berg's strongest points. ...more
I loved this book. Carol Berg’s writing is just wonderful and would certainly work well for those who typically enjoy literary fiction. It’s definitely an under appreciated fantasy novel!
am very very picky about my fantasy but I have just found a new obsession - Carol Berg. I’ve never read anything of hers before but after I’ve just spent the last two days devouring Dust and Light (the first of her two-book series), I am about to remedy it with every last book the woman ever wrote.

The protagonist is Lucian de Remeni Masson, whose world is on the verge of general and personal destruction. The kingdom he lives in is suffering - the dead king’s sons are conducting a brutal civil
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, novel
One of the biggest regrets of my life is that were it not for going to World Fantasy Con when it came to Washington, D.C., I may never have discovered Carol Berg. And her writing is simply amazing.

Dust and Light takes us into a world where people have "bents," or narrow types of magic with specific applications. Lucien's is based in painting, and he has a job creating portraits for the Pureblood Registry (which regulates people with bents). Until the moment the registry essentially kicks him ou
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Lucian de Remeni-Masson is convinced it was his indiscretion that lead to the death of his entire family. As a pure-blood sorcerer he is forbidden to even talk to ordinaries--those who have no magic--much less allow one to see him unmasked or perform magic, yet he did.

Years have passed since his college dalliance, but he still fears he hasn't completely escaped the consequences and finds himself at the mercy of the Pureblood Registry. Despite good behavior and hard work using his talent for magi
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Reread 12/31/15 --

I finished my reread of Dust and Light by Carol Berg in prep for reading the second (recently released) book of the duology, Ash and Silver. Although it wasn't long ago that I read Dust and Light the first time, the story had lots and lots of details that I wanted to go back over.

There's something about Berg's writing that really appeals to me. She always writes in a very personal, very character-focused way, and she makes you feel the experiences of her characters very intense
Fantasy Literature
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really, Carol Berg?

I bought Dust and Light, your latest fantasy novel, because you wrote it, and because I loved the COLLEGIA MAGICA series. I had no idea you were going to do this to me.

I knew I was going to love your rich prose. In the first few pages, though, with great economy, you provided us with the big picture; a dead king, princes warring for a nation, a group of pureblood families who wield magic and go to extreme lengths to protect their bloodlines; rumors of an ancient, possibly myth
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It has been a few months since I’ve read the Lighthouse series, also by Carol Berg and set in the same world and time. Nevertheless, memories came back quickly and I got into this world much faster than after the first book. I quickly started to like the new protagonist who is responsible, faithful and just. Quite different from the character in the first duology, but again so very authentic and excellently chosen for this dark story of betrayal, murder and corruption.

The story somewhat reminds
Feb 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: overrated
The book reads more like the outline of the book Ms Berg set out to write. It is slow starting and then jumps along at full swing with occasional elaboration of detail. It is a complex and promising plot, but the rough edges are showing. It is not as good as her other books but the reader can hope that the next books in the series are better polished.

For instance, she kills off almost all the main character's large, extended family in a terrible fire. I'm not counting that as a spoiler because i
Aug 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am so pleased to revisit the world of Flesh and spirit created by Carol Berg. As far as I am concerned she is a very underrated writer and should be accessed by a much larger readership. Her world building skills are excellent as are her character portrayals. In this novel things don't seem to be going too well for our erstwhile hero Lucian , most of his family gone, humiliated and demeaned. Then accused off arson and murder and the frightening prospect of his talent bound forever. No spoilers ...more
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2018
This is a great book.

I liked the first person point of view - not many authors can pull it off, but this was great. The main character, Lucian, starts off as rather stiff and rigid. Perhaps this is grief of its own kind. His contract then gets accelerated and broken, and he slowly unravels a plot surrounding him.

I loved the worldbuilding! There's a medieval society with a clear and separate class of mages, and there are strict reasons for monitoring reproduction. This results in extreme class
Tracy Taylor
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Carol Berg's books are so good that while I was reading this one, I had to buy the next book in this series, "Ash and Silver". Now I'm reading that, and enjoying it just as much. She has everything I look for in a book: lush, beautifully descriptive writing, complex, intelligent plots, great world-building and really compelling characters, even when they're not heroic. I love this series as its hero is an artist who uses magic to do his work, an idea I really love. I can't recommend this author' ...more
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
As I always expect from Carol Berg, I loved this. I enjoyed seeing a different angle on the same world and magic system as her Lighthouse Duet, with a main character who's still been screwed over by the "Pureblood" Registry, but this time, getting a more direct focus on the nature of the registry and how it operates. I enjoyed the working relationship that evolved between Lucian and Sebastien, and really loved the murder mystery aspect of the story. ...more
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was perfect for my current mood - a wonderfully written fantasy novel. It is impossible to put down and I am reminded why I love this author so much.
Eva Müller
One part of Dust and Light is a buddy cop movie. No, seriously. There’s the new guy who is a posh bloke, arrogant, privileged and obsessed with obeying rules to the letter. And there’s a working class guy who has been doing this job for a long time who is very aware that justice sometimes clashes with what is legal. Of course, they can’t stand each other at first. But then a murdered child turns up and they realize that both want the person behind this to pay for their crime. There is also some ...more
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Great new story by Carol Berg, set in her universe of Flesh and Blood, but with new protagonists. The bad weather continues and crops are dying, people are starving and the civil war still goes on. It looks as though one of the sons of the old king may be at last coming through as the victor in the war of succession. But the noble purebloods are not really touched by the problems of the commoners. They are still well fed and enjoying a reasonable life style in their secure homes. Except for our ...more
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In the return to the breathtaking world of Navronne, we meet Lucian de Remeni-Masson, a pureblood sorcerer who has committed himself to maintaining the strictures of pureblood life. He doesn’t stray from his duties. He follows their rigid protocols while trying to raise his sole surviving relative, and still somehow finds himself at opposing sides with his own kind. The mystery of Lucian’s rebuke from the Registry is unraveled with the help of his new master, Bastien, who has become another of m ...more
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dust and Light features an intensely developed protagonist who encounters non-stop challenges. Lucian de Remeni-Masson, an elite member of society who possesses magic powers, faces his first crisis when his services as an artist are sold to a coroner who has him drawing the dead in a charnel house. Accusations of madness and criminal behavior disrupt this miserable existence. Lucian’s problems are complicated by famine and civil war raging in his society.

The story line focuses on Lucian’s inves
Cecilia Quick
Aug 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Man, this was a slog. The language is formal and flowery and at times hard to follow and a bit pompous. The book is basically two stories that aren't well integrated. Lucius has a rare double magical ability: he can paint the truth, and his art also unveils history. He was an interesting character. He starts out as naïve, an aristocrat on hard times. When his services are sold to a low brow coroner, he starts to grow and mature. He was an interesting character, as was the coroner. The first stor ...more
Hélène Louise
I've read most (all?) Carol Berg's books and mostly loved them. But till the last series I couldn't read to much of Carol Berg in a row: her heroes' sufferings were too much for me. The tortures they endured were never gratuitous or complacent, but they were near intolerable.
For my happiness, the author decided to lighten their fate! Well, they still have lot on their plate, and must bear pretty much every privation, but her last books are really easier on the reader!

I loved the first book of th
Denver Public Library
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: emily, fantasy
Berg is certainly an accomplished fantasist. an evenhanded telling of a grim fantasy tale, in a world where magic is accepted as a holy gift, those with the powers granted by the gods must hold themselves apart from ordinaries. These sorcerors are each talented in one gift, Sight, Skill or Power, whether it be painting a true image or seeing the future, or the past, clearly these gifts are always unique. but for Lucian Remini who has been born with two bents, and all the luck that comes with it. ...more
Jan 13, 2015 rated it liked it
I could probably rate this 4 stars, I REALLY liked it by the last 1/4 of the book...but it reminded me too much of the first books in her last couple series--the protaganist as well, very similar to the main characters in "Flesh and Spirit" and "The Spirit Lens". It can be good to be in a comfort zone, but I feel that there wasn't much that set these three main characters apart from each other in personality.

That having been said...if you have liked Carol Berg's previous books, then it is a sure
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've been waiting so long! Finally, a new novel from Carol Berg.

We return to the world of the Lighthouse Novels, where magic runs in families and is considered a gift from the gods. Its practitioners are the medieval version of celebrities--pampered and esteemed until they break the rules. Then they are outcast. Our hero has enjoyed the former status and now suffers the latter, ends up contracted to draw corpses in order to identify them.

The characters are, as always, complex, show-up-in-your-d
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have never read Carol Berg's Lighthouse series so when I started Dust and Light it took me awhile not only to get used her writing style but also to understand the world building and magic system.
Well, the magic in The Sanctuary Duet was intricate and beautiful but wasn't quite solid to me...may be I'm still grabbing the concept, though. The story was pleasant once I got through the difficulty of Berg's formal and old language style (which greatly went along with the theme of the book). Her wr
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Carol Berg has returned to one of her established worlds with a companion duology to her Lighthouse set published several years ago. I imagine a companion series is much more difficult to write than a sequel or prequel series; it's possible for anachronisms to creep in, for things to be spoiled, for contradictions to abound (Orson Scott Card is notorious for cashing in on his character's popularity, and not even bothering to look for contradictions). Carol Berg, however, has done the impossible: ...more
DeAnna Knippling
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
That beginning.

It's almost Dickensian in its grinding hopelessness and unfairness. It was, in fact, almost more than I could enjoy reading. I got bogged down several times...

After about the quarter mark, the book opens up, and you start to see the political intrigue and world-spanning stuff that makes Carol Berg books so fun. But it was a small skirmish getting to that point.

Well written, good characters, lovely twisty plot...but that beginning.

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Carol Berg is the author of the epic fantasy
The Books of the Rai-kirah, The Bridge of D'Arnath Quartet, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award winning Lighthouse Duet - Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone - the standalone novel Song of the Beast , and the three novels of the Collegia Magica.

Berg holds a degree in mathematics from Rice University, and a degree in computer science from the University of

Other books in the series

The Sanctuary Duet (2 books)
  • Ash and Silver (The Sanctuary Duet, #2)

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