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"At fifteen, Esclarmonde realizes that the only way out of her betrothal is to renounce her freedom and a part of herself. Rather than accept the hand of a philandering knight, she cuts off her own ear and declares herself to be the mistress of Christ. She uses her dowry to build a stone chapel, where she entombs herself, inhabiting a magical place between the living and the dead. Out of the ashes of her former self arises the Virgin of Whispers -- a mystical being whose prescient murmurs can alter the fate of a kingdom."--Book jacket.