Renegade Muse

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The Prince of Midnight

Avon Books, 1990
ISBN 0-380-76130-0
Sourcebooks, 2008, 2010
ISBN-10: 1402213972
ISBN-13: 978-1402213977

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The Prince of Midnight

The audiobook, narrated by the amazin’ Nick Boulton, is now LIVE and currently available on Audible, iTunes and Amazon. And Audible.uk


He was once a legendary highwayman. Now he’s a recluse, living out his life in a ruined hideaway. When Lady Leigh Strachan comes looking for a man who can teach her how to wreak revenge on her enemy, she’s disgusted and disillusioned to find that the famed Prince of Midnight can hardly stand steady on his own two feet. S.T. Maitland wants nothing to do with his former criminal career, or with this fierce, beautiful, unhappy woman, until the old thrill of living on the cutting edge of danger begins to rise in his blood again.

 

Discuss this book

Setting:

England and France, late 18th Century

Mascot Animal:

Nemo the wolf

Laura's Comment:

My sister is quite proud that the original idea for S.T.‘s rather unusual problems with balance came directly from her bout with a similar condition, which temporarily affected her inner ear. Watching her get up from bed and fall in a heap was quite inspiring to a writer. Aren’t we a heartless bunch? Oh, and I did spend a good bit of time spinning myself in a circle (remember doing that when you were a kid?) to get the feel of it for myself.

Recognition:

Romance Writers of America Golden Choice Award - WINNER, Best Romance Novel of 1990

Laura's Fave Review:

“A true storyteller, Laura Kinsale has managed to break all the rules of standard romance writing and come away shining. There is not a virgin to be found, and certainly no flawless hero to be worshipped. What a refreshing change.” San Diego Tribune, March 8, 1991

Old Covers:

Here it is, the ORIGINAL Fabio cover, the first one he appeared on by himself!  It’s as legendary as S.T. Maitland.

Original ebook edition cover

Sourcebooks edition

Discuss this book

[1] Posted by laura kinsale on 01.08.2010

(Comments closed due to spam.  Feel free to email me or make contact on Twitter or Facebook.)  Please feel welcome to discuss this book.  All opinions are welcome, positive or negative, but civility and polite language are required for comments to remain.  Political or religious references are not allowed, unless directly related to the book under discussion. I do answer questions but I seldom give interpretations about my books or characters, because I enjoy hearing what readers see in them.  These comments and discussions replace my old forum at The Terrace.  WARNING: Book discussions may contain spoilers.

[2] Posted by Vikki Johnson on 01.15.2010

This was the first Laura Kinsale book I read—a shipping mishap from a DoubleDay book order. I am so glad the company made that mistake. I have not been able to find a better historical romance author ever since.
This book is amazing. Fantastic, and yet believable, as Mrs. Kinsale has a way of fashioning a tragic, scarred, cursed hero in a way that makes your heart break for him. The woman in this book is bitter and courageous and strong, and the slow turning of her heart toward the man she thought was a hero—only to be disillusioned—is fascinating to watch. Or rather, experience. You can’t pick up this book and readily put it down without feeling as though a piece of your heart has been chipped away, only to have it remade by the last page. By far, one of her best novels!

[3] Posted by laura kinsale on 01.15.2010

Thank you Vikki.  I’m sure glad Doubleday made that mistake!

[4] Posted by Susan on 01.16.2010

Silly me!  I badgered a book store to give me the “book dump” stand-up of Fabio off the cover and then years later gave it away when I made a long distance move.  I hope someone, somewhere is enjoying it still.

[5] Posted by Amanda Silva on 01.17.2010

I still read this book cover to cover. Thank you, Ms. Kinsale for writing this story and making fall in love with romance and reading.

[6] Posted by Amanda Silva on 01.17.2010

I still read this book cover to cover. Thank you, Ms. Kinsale for writing this story and making ->me fall in love with romance and reading.

[7] Posted by SandyO on 02.02.2010

You got to admit, when the book first came out, that cover was stunningly spectacular.

[8] Posted by Vikki Johnson on 02.03.2010

It was great, I agree. In fact, between you and me, that’s really what made me crack the cover open for the first time! Of course, had I not been completely spellbound after the first page, I wouldn’t have kept reading, Fabio or no Fabio. By the end of the second page, I was so hooked, it was ridiculous. That was the defining moment: when Laura Kinsale became my Elvis.

[9] Posted by laura kinsale on 02.07.2010

Haha, now that’s got to be a pinnacle of something, reaching Elvis status for a reader.  Thank you. *g* ;)

[10] Posted by Vikki Johnson on 02.08.2010

Yeah, when I requested your newsletter, you wrote back that I had a cute email address (inkspeckle), and when I told my son, he said, “Wow, Mom. She actually wrote you back? Isn’t she, like, your Elvis?”
It’s no secret in my house who my favorite author is!

[11] Posted by Trisha Williams on 03.03.2010

I read this book once a long time ago. the story was one of my favorite romances of all time and I still remember the way it pulled you in and took you on a ride.

[12] Posted by laura kinsale on 03.03.2010

Thank you Trisha!  I think that’s always one of the best compliments, when a reader remembers a book after many years.

[13] Posted by Mandy Davidson on 04.07.2010

This is my alltime favourite book. Being a horsey person the original cover certinaly ‘pulled’ to me. I have read the book soooo many times it is begining to fall apart. I always look for your books whenever I get into town. Please send more to Australia!

[14] Posted by laura kinsale on 04.07.2010

Thanks, Mandy!  I still chuckle about the last scene (on the horse, ahem).  I wrote it tongue-in-cheek, as it was a popular trope in romances at the time, pretty unrealistic I thought.  I quizzed my rider friends as to whether they thought it could be done, and the consensus was, “Maybe, if he was a REALLY good rider.” 

Here’s a video of a horse and rider who probably could manage. ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amLuOWFr9AM

I love this horse, btw.  He’s so relaxed and yet powerful.  Wish this pair luck, they are doing very well in competition this year!  I hope to see them at the WEG in Kentucky.

[15] Posted by Karenmc on 04.19.2010

I just finished the book this weekend and found myself tearing up when Leigh started crumbling apart after the long first training session with Mistral. I NEVER do that. Also, the copy I have has the Fabio cover, so I’m doubly in awe.

[16] Posted by Liz on 05.19.2010

I think this one really is my favorite.  I could not get S.T. out of my head for the longest time after finishing.  Now, I haven’t yet read Flowers from the Storm, which I’m saving for my vacation in August (God that’s such a long time).  We’ll see where S.T. stands after that.

I also have the book with Fabio on the cover and I love it.  I do intend to go buy the reissue when I can find it because it’s so pretty and I’m silly like that.

[17] Posted by Jean Bryant on 07.20.2010

I was supposed to be packing for a business trip.  Instead I foolishly started The Prince of Midnight.  I was reading it on my Kindle, which I had loaded with books to take on my trip.  I’ll be gone almost two weeks.  Is 14 books enough?  I used to hate waiting in lines, at airports, or for meetings to start or businesses to open or for phone calls to ... well, you get the idea.  Now, I read as I wait.  Well, this version of PoM was not a Laura Kinsale book.  It was a muddle of typos and nonsensical letter strings so thickly interspersed in the print as to make the book hover on the edge of unreadable.  I finally accepted that “bur” was “burn,” and “corer” was “corner,” and “femrple presence” was “female presence.”  I went to the Amazon site to check on reviews of this book.  How did this mess pass muster?  One reviewer who had read the eBook version suggested that Ms. Kinsale should sue whoever translated her book into this eBook travesty.  I tended to agree.  When I “turned” the last ePage and discovered the announcement:
“This eBook was created using ReaderWorks Publisher, produced by OverDrive, Inc.”  Well, how convenient I thought.  Having the mistakes be the fault of a software program absolved every human of culpability.  When I protested to the Kindle Team about the extremely unsatisfactory experience provided by OverDrive, Inc. software, they immediately refunded my money, but defended their giving virtual shelf space to OverDrive’s desecration by saying, “The content in the Kindle Store is provided to us directly by the publishers or authors who own that content.”  Now, I wonder, are you, Ms. Kinsale, aware of the despoliation of PoM? Is the Barnes and Noble eBook the same as the Kindle version?  The sample provided on line seemed to be alright, but did the rest of the copy follow suit?  I was vastly disappointed in this reading experience of a book by such a talented author.  I could tell it had all the delicious descriptions of a Laura Kinsale work, all the heart stopping plot twists, all the tenderness, toughness and charming eccentricity of character that Ms. Kinsale’s readers have come to expect and love.  I had no complaints with Ms. Kinsale. . . just the electronic version.  I have embraced reading on an electronic book because I can store so many more eBooks and carry them with me than I can paper and print versions.  My bookshelves at home are still stuffed with books I love.  I love to read them, I love to see them, I love to dip into them to relive wonderful reading experiences.  I’ll never replace my personal print library with eBooks.  But I still like to read eBooks.  Tell me this version of Prince of Midnight is an aberration.  Please!

[18] Posted by laura kinsale on 09.08.2010

Hi, Jean,

You made this comment while I was on vacation, and somehow I missed it.  I apologize for the issues with the ebook; I’ve contacted the people in charge of the digital files and we’ll be making sure it gets corrected immediately. I saw on Amazon that your money was refunded; I’m glad that was done promptly.  I will try to see what else I can do.  Thanks for letting me know.  (Sometimes I miss comments on the different books, so email is always the most sure way to reach me.)

[19] Posted by laura kinsale on 11.21.2010

The “remastered” ebook edition of The Prince of Midnight, fully copy-edited by me to correct the mistakes, is now available on Kindle, and should be showing up on the other retailers soon.

[20] Posted by Jean Bryant on 11.22.2010

Hooray.  I went immediately to the Amazon site and bought the “new, improved version” or perhaps the “older correct version”  Yea!  Hoorah!  Cheers!  Thanks so much.

Meanwhile, I furnished my “Desert Island Shelf” with a hard cover copy.  Now I will surely not be deprived of my Laura Kinsale Fix no matter where I am.

I’m thrilled.

[21] Posted by Viv aka Vixen on 01.30.2011

Thrilling. Gorgeous. Absolutely and totally gripped by the scenes in Leigh’s hometown.  Fantastic book. I love, love, love S.T. - what a beautiful, reckless, tender, emotionally courageous man. His relationship with Nemo was as profound as his relationship with Leigh. Thank you.

Having slowly worked my way through your back catalogue over the last ten months, I REALLY didn’t want to finish this one, as I only had one novel left to read…

[22] Posted by Viv (aka Vixen) on 01.30.2011

As a P.S to my recent post, I wanted to say that on one level, I think this book can be read as a cry (a scream) against fundamentalism.

You have written, terrifyingly and convincingly, about a religious fundamentalist who not only persecutes and subjugates those who take a stand against him but who manipulates the words of a religious text in order to deceive, coerce and control ordinary decent citizens, to the extent that they themselves assume the role of persecutor on his behalf.  The passivity of the inhabitants of the surrounding village(s) - turning a blind eye to it all, even when people are murdered - is equally disturbing.  I’m glad that Leigh gets the chance to mock the Justice of the Peace to his face, and I wish that he could have been held to greater account.

[23] Posted by Melissa Winters on 02.04.2011

I read this book right after I’d read the book “Escape” by Carolyn Jessop, about breaking away from a Fundamentalist LDS cult. Talk about your eerie coincidences. I LOVE your work, absolutely love it. I’ve got all your books on my shelf in the basement, and when I’m out of my library books to read, I pull one down. But they are like treasures, like my dark chocolate oranges that I can only get at Christmastime, so I stash a few in the freezer for later in the year (it’s February, only two left, not doing so well there either). I’m slightly panicking because I only have a few that I haven’t read yet. :) Thank you so much for you and your Muse, I am loving the the characters you build, loving the emotional heights, love that you can make me cry and laugh out loud.  And I am so impressed at how deftly you can turn a plotline away from the expected territory - surprising, refreshing, and by effect, makes it so hard to put your books down. Thank you!

[24] Posted by laura kinsale on 02.13.2011

I don’t know why I keep missing some of these posts!  Thank you, Jean, Viv and Melissa.  My apologies, I’m making sure I have the notification checked this time!

I’m glad you saw that element of the book, Viv and Melissa..it was particularly tough to write as it’s hard to get into the mindset of cultists. 

Thanks to Jean in particular for bringing my attention the ebook problems.

[25] Posted by Di on 07.28.2011

“Forbidden worlds, wild joy and romance. A midnight ride with an outlaw prince, and life, and life, and life. He burned with it.” from Prince of Midnight, one of my keepers.

Had to add one of my all-time fave quotes. I remember that beautiful cover of Fabio on that horse. There’s something bittersweet in Fabio’s look that captures Maitland as I imagined him. It’s rare that a romance cover reminds you of anything to do with the characters, but there you have it.

[26] Posted by laura kinsale on 07.29.2011

Thanks, Di!  That was certainly a memorable cover, and completely unique at the time as being the first one which showed only the hero.  A landmark, really.

[27] Posted by PG on 03.02.2015

I meant to mention this some time ago, but I think I’ve found Leigh’s song: “Laura Palmer” by Bastille.

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