Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Sharing Knife: Beguilement

This is the first in a fantasy duology, written by Lois McMaster Bujold and published in 2006 by Eos. I've spent much of the fall and winter glomming Ms. Bujold's backlist, Vorkosigan etc., & I've enjoyed nearly all of it. This book is no exception.

Ms. McMaster gives the reader tantalizing glimpses of a fascinating and destructive distant history of the world where these books are set. Large tracts of wasteland. Ruins of cities submerged in water. Legends and myths surround the long lost peoples. Mysterious beings who suck power, life and vitality out of the very soil. Sorta like The Force in reverse.

Golem like creatures who terrorize, kidnap and murder the peasants. Mysterious & despised protectors called Lakewalkers who use unusual weapons & live itinerant lifestyles- similar to the Rangers (ie: Strider) in Tolkien's fiction. Anyone who isn't a Lakewalker is called a Farmer no matter what their actual occupation. Much mutual animosity & little inclination to dialogue.

Into this comes a confused young woman running from an unhappy home life. A widowed Lakewalker physically healed but nonetheless only half alive since the death of his beloved wife many years ago. Together they defeat a vicious foe. Both wounded, they depend on each other to survive. Thus, intimacy (not sex, mind you) breeds understanding.

In this unlikely secenario is set one of the most touching and deeply felt love scenes I've read in many a book- more's the pity. An unusual May-December road/adventure romance, but one that works. For me, the characterization is roundly written & believeable. The couple can be observed happily riding off lost in the mutual lust of early love.

This is only book one, so much of the plot is left hanging. I wonder if Dag & Fawn will be allowed the luxury of a romance genre HEA. Even if it is dearly earned. The mysterious golem makers, called malices among other names- where do they all come from? What is their ultimate goal? Will Dag's people accept Fawn? How does beloved Aunt Nattie have such a rare Lakewalker gift & how did she become mired among the Farmers? How is all of this tied into the past history of their nation?

All of these questions and more will have to be answered in The Sharing Knife, Volume 2: Legacy due out in July 2007.

1 comment:

Tara Marie said...

I have 2 Lois McMaster Bujold and 2 Sharon Shinn books sitting on my TBR pile thanks to all you fantasy fans--like I didn't have enough on the TBR pile--LOL. I've actually got to read them within the next 2 weeks as they're due back at the library.