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Posted June 18, 2013
If I were to subtitle this novelette, I might consider "The Battle of Sword and Faith." Paeter the Nederlander runs from his parent's faith to trust in the glory of battle, only to run into a man who not only has faith, but for unknown reasons has faith in Paeter's worthiness. But the men and general of his army don't share their commander's belief in Paeter. The primary conflict arises in this tension as well as within Paeter himself.
If you're looking for as much sword play and action as a B-rated Kung-Fu movie—and as little plot—this book may not be for you. The action is light, one main fight toward the end, and leans heavily toward character and plot development. Because of that, you don't end up with stereotypical characters. They have a history and are believably written.
Despite the lack of numerous fighting scenes, it is the character tension that kept me reading. I also found the way their faiths, or lack thereof, were naturally woven into the story, adding to it rather than distracting from it, to be well done.
If I had any complaints, there would be two. While not desiring a lot of action to keep me glued to the story, it did proceed a little too slow at spots, especially at the beginning. Once I got into the characters, it wasn't much of an issue. Also, Mr. Perry uses a touch of old-style phrasing and words. For the most part, it was well done, but there were a couple times it sounded more confusing or unclear.
If you like classic sword and sorcery stories, without the sorcery, but with good characters and plot, I'd highly recommend grabbing this one. I look forward to reading the rest in this series.