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Reine de Mémoire

(Queen of Memory)

The undisputed queen of Quebec SF, the Magician of Chicoutimi overturns conventions and give us in this first volume an innovative epic, an inspired blend of fantasy, parallel universes and family chronicle.
Le Soleil

Illustration : Jacques Lamontagne

Aurepas is a small town in southwest France, in a year 1789...

Senso and Pierrino are seven-year-old twins who live in an old bourgeois house with Jiliane, their younger sister ; she is four and does not speak. The twins have just been confirmed into the Geminite faith, which is the religion of most of Europe : it began in Judea with Jesus and his twin sister Sophia, and its most sacred rites are magic. The children lost their parents in a tragic accident when Jiliane was born, and they are being brought up by their grandfather Sigismond Garance, a successful merchant and also something of a philosopher, with the help of Domma Castelet and Dom Patenaude, the mages-ecclesiasts of their parish. Of course, there is also Grandmother - and her five cats - but she never leaves her apartments, and the children never enter them. They only see her twice a day to say good morning and good night. She is... different, as is her servant. She doesn't look like everybody else.

On one Sunday morning, coming back from the Temple, the children see a window they'd never noticed on the second floor of the front of the house. No room corresponds to that one-window-too-many. While looking for the elusive room, they discover a magic map, which transports Senso mentally, then Pierrino, to other places when they poke it with a sharp letter opener. Their curiosity is awakened by all this and during their inquiries they discover strange things about their house, and their ancestors, especially Gilles, the traveller, the explorer, the one who went Over There, to the country no one speaks of. But Jiliane, who is the first one to enter Grandmother's apartments, already knows that magic is part of the family mysteries.

  • 2006 Grand Prix de la science-fiction et du fantastique québécois
  • 2006 Boréal Award
Élisabeth Vonarburg
Reine de Mémoire 1. La Maison d'Oubli
(Queen of Memory 1 : The House of Forgetting)
688 pages, $17.95

Illustration : Jacques Lamontagne

In the old Aurepas house, Jiliane, Senso and Pierrino are growing up. The golden thread by which they are linked is not as painful now as it once was, but it is still there. They gradually discover that the history of their family, the Garances, is fraught with many more mysteries than they were told about.

They are able to learn more about it because the terrible Edict of Silence is being slowly and secretly lifted by the mages. It is a powerful spell cast forty years earlier by the Mad Queen Jordane, grieving for her daughter and heiress after a great military defeat far away in the East : she wanted the name of the lost land forever erased from the memories of all her subjects. That land is Emorie, the country no one talks about, the mysterious Over There where Grandmother comes from, where Grandfather was born and lived for a long time.

From that far Eastern land came ambercite, a fuel much more efficient than coal. Only the Garances knew how to refine it and they were the only ones allowed by the Royalty of the land to mine it, having thus a monopoly over ambercite production.

And it all began with Gilles Garance, the ancestor, the explorer, the first European ever to set foot in the mythical Land of the Dragons.

  • 2006 Grand Prix de la science-fiction et du fantastique québécois
Élisabeth Vonarburg
Reine de Mémoire 2. Le Dragon de Feu
(Queen of Memory 2 : The Fire Dragon)
623 pages, $17.95

Illustration : Jacques Lamontagne
Now sixteen, and though not remembering her dreams, Jiliane still follows Gilles Garance's adventures in the Land of the Dragons where he is discovering the amazing proprieties of the ambercite compound and living with the three enigmatic and magical Natéhsin who have chosen to share his destiny. Meanwhile, her older twin brothers Senso and Pierrino have left without her, for the first time in their lives, to journey to Hutland and pay their last respects to their grandmother, Madame d'Olducey, who has bequeathed them letters written by her and their father Henry. Reading them, Senso and Pierrino are bewildered by unexpected revelations about their grandmother's past and their parents' death. Then, as they hastily leave Paris where they discover even more oddities, the impossible happens : the golden thread that links them to Jiliane has been broken. Jiliane is nowhere to be found. What on earth could have happened back in Aurepas ?
Élisabeth Vonarburg
Reine de Mémoire 3. Le Dragon fou
(Queen of Memory 3: The Mad Dragon)
561 pages, $17.95

Illustration : Jacques Lamontagne

The dire prediction of the children's other grandmother, Lady d'Olducey, has apparently come to pass : spurred by the Mynmaï fortune-telling cards and dice, the grandchildren of Sigismond Garance have been scattered to the four winds...

Senso, one of the twins, while looking for the missing Jiliane, has been hired by the Parisian Company of the Two Banks, a theatre company for which his father and mother both worked before their untimely death. The France he travels in with his new friend and lover, Alexis, and his bodyguard, the laconic Larché, is awakening from the Edict of Silence ; the people are also worried or angered by the rumours that ambercite might be used again. Pierrino, the other twin, has against his will been taken on board The Sea Eagle, Captain Haizelé's ship, and is traveling toward the Far East and Grandmother's country, where he'll have to confront the many perils of foreign politics but also his ancestors' extraordinary magic.

As for Jiliane, who has disappeared in mysterious circumstances, she is gradually gaining control of the Map and exploring her family's ancestral memory... without suspecting that she will soon discover the secret origins of the Princess of Vengeance.


Élisabeth Vonarburg
Reine de Mémoire 4. La Princesse de Vengeance
(Queen of Memory 4: The Princess of Vengeance)
464 pages, $15.95

Illustration : Jacques Lamontagne

The Dragon's Blood cannot turn against itself, for then the world would surely end : only the child many times reborn from many fathers can judge the Mad Dragon and bring back the Dragon of Fire.

Though the visions of the Map weigh heavy on her, Jiliane continues to watch as Gilles Garance and Ouraïn live on through the years to meet their fates. Pierrino has danced with the Natéhsin in the Sacred City, Garang Xhévât, and, transformed, he is coming back to France with Haizelé, the female captain of The Sea Eagle, who has become his lover. Meanwhile, still in the theatre company, with Larché and the strange young Alexis, Senso is following in the footsteps of his father Henri and his mother Agnès, inexorably traveling back to Aurepas and Grandmother's mysterious old house.

When they are all reunited, in the crucible of truth, what fatal alchemy will fuse the fragments of the past that each of them holds ? What vengeance... or what justice, will take place in the room of one-window-too-many, the terrible red chamber ?

Élisabeth Vonarburg
Reine de Mémoire 5. La Maison d'Équité
(Queen of Memory 5: The House of Justice)
464 pages, $15.95