Beguilement (Sharing Knife Series #1)
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Beguilement (Sharing Knife Series #1)

4.3 46
by Lois McMaster Bujold

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“Bujold builds a better fantasy romance with compelling characters and the fascinating clash between their cultures, she a farmer’s daughter, he an adventurer on the trail of a deadly demon.”—Locus

One of the most respected writers in the field of speculative fiction, Lois McMaster Bujold has won numerous accolades and awards,


“Bujold builds a better fantasy romance with compelling characters and the fascinating clash between their cultures, she a farmer’s daughter, he an adventurer on the trail of a deadly demon.”—Locus

One of the most respected writers in the field of speculative fiction, Lois McMaster Bujold has won numerous accolades and awards, including the Nebula and Locus Awards as well as the fantasy and science fiction genre’s most prestigious honor, the Hugo Award for Best Novel, four times (most recently for Paladin of Souls). With The Sharing Knife series, Bujold creates a brand new world fraught with peril, and spins an extraordinary romance between a young farm girl and the brave sorcerer-soldier entrusted with the defense of the land against a plague of vicious malevolent beings. Meet Fawn Bluefield and Dag Redwing Hickory in Beguilement, the first book in Bujold’s unforgettable four-volume fantasy saga, and witness the birth of their dangerous romance—a love threatened by prejudice and perilous magic, and by Dag’s sworn duty as Lakewalker patroller and necromancer.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Compelling characters lift this first of a two-book romantic fantasy from Hugo-winner Bujold (The Hallowed Heart), set in a dangerous land without a name, though individual towns, villages and hamlets are specified. Dag, a Lakewalker patroller with a dry wit, is dedicated to destroying the evil "malices" that blight the countryside. Fawn, a runaway farm girl, helps him kill a malice and its zombie-like mud-men, but not before the malice destroys her unborn child by taking its "ground" or life force. Fawn slays the malice with Dag's sharing knife, a bone blade created to carry the spirit of a dying patroller, but Dag's formerly empty knife now carries the baby's ground. Dag and Fawn fall in love while he helps her recover from her miscarriage. Bujold hints at an epic past of mighty kingdoms and ancient sorceries a past that will hopefully be fully detailed in the sequel. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Pregnant and with no hope of marriage, young Fawn Bluefield seeks a new life in a larger city where no one knows her. Before she can reach her destination, Fawn encounters the monstrous creatures of dark magic known as malices as well as a veteran sorcerer-soldier called Dag, who becomes her unlikely escort and companion. The award-winning author of The Hallowed Hunt and The Paladin of Souls begins a two-volume saga of daring deeds and unlikely romance. Bujold quickly develops unforgettable characters as she crafts a world filled with unique monsters and an original approach to magic. For most fantasy collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/06.] Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Bujold's The Curse of Chalion (2001) and The Hallowed Hunt (2005, both Morrow/Avon) walked a fine line between fast-paced quest fantasy and character-driven romance. Here the fantasy is in the background, making the developing romance between the main characters, Dag and Fawn, the primary story. The two meet when the wandering adventurer Dag rescues the farmer's daughter Fawn from a Malice, a powerful demonic creature capable of bending the wills and flesh of others to itself. While there is action and drama, the end result is that the events seem built for the singular purpose of pushing Dag and Fawn together instead of moving along any other plot thread. This is a big shift for Bujold's fans, who might expect layers of political intrigue and thrilling action alongside the love story. Fortunately, the lovers are compelling characters, and Bujold delivers a novel that is a sweet, touching, and fast read. While it seems difficult to imagine how a love story can carry a whole fantasy series, teens will want to see how this tale continues in the next volume.-Matthew L. Moffett, Ford's Theatre Society, Washington, DC Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
First of a planned fantasy duology from Bujold (The Curse of Chalion, 2001, etc.). Young farm girl Fawn Bluefield, pregnant and unmarried, runs away from home, hoping to find work in the town of Glassforge. On the road, she's grabbed by a mud-man, the slave of a "malice." Malices are weird, evil entities that apparently come up out of the ground, with the ability to transform animals into human semblance, then enslave them, along with real humans. Lakewalkers, dedicated warrior-magicians, patrol the hinterlands, destroying malices with their "sharing knives," made from human bone and charged with a Lakewalker's energy (to charge a knife, a Lakewalker must be stabbed through the heart with it). Giant one-armed patroller Dag, hearing Fawn's cries, rescues her from the mud-man. He leaves Fawn at an abandoned farmhouse in order to help his band track down the malice, but while he's away, more mud-men capture Fawn and drag her into the malice's lair. Just as Dag arrives, the malice rips out of Fawn her unborn child. Dag has two knives, but only one of them is charged; as Fawn stabs the malice with the uncharged one, Dag kills the creature with the other. Later, Dag finds to his astonishment that Fawn's knife is now charged. This unprecedented development must be reported to Lakewalker headquarters; after Fawn recovers, they hit the road. Soon becoming lovers, they decide to swing by Fawn's home despite the unlikelihood of a friendly reception. Flurries of action early on, devolving into stock fantasy-romance; overall, just about noteworthy enough to bring readers back for the promised conclusion.
Romantic TimesBOOKclub
"A quiet, beguiling and transcendent tale of love, mystery and magic...The main characters are...complex and beautifully written."
Romantic Times BOOKclub
“A quiet, beguiling and transcendent tale of love, mystery and magic...The main characters are...complex and beautifully written.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sharing Knife Series , #1
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.17(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

The Sharing Knife Volume One

By Lois Bujold

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Lois Bujold
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0061137588

Chapter One

Fawn came to the well-house a little before noon. More than a farmstead, less than an inn, it sat close to the straight road she'd been trudging down for two days. The farmyard lay open to travelers, bounded by a semicircle of old log outbuildings, with the promised covered well in the middle. To resolve all doubt, somebody had nailed a sign picturing the well itself to one of the support posts, and below the painting a long list of goods the farm might sell, with the prices. Each painstakingly printed line had a little picture below it, and colored circles of coins lined up in rows beyond, for those who could not read the words and numbers themselves. Fawn could, and keep accounts as well, skills her mother had taught her along with a hundred other household tasks. She frowned at the unbidden thought: So if I'm so clever, what am I doing in this fix?

She set her teeth and felt in her skirt pocket for her coin purse. It was not heavy, but she might certainly buy some bread. Bread would be bland. The dried mutton from her pack that she'd tried to eat this morning had made her sick, again, but she needed something to fight the horrible fatigue that slowed her steps to a plod, or she'd never make it toGlassforge. She glanced around the unpeopled yard and at the iron bell hung from the post with a pull cord dangling invitingly, then lifted her eyes to the rolling fields beyond the buildings. On a distant sunlit slope, a dozen or so people were haying. Uncertainly, she went around to the farmhouse's kitchen door and knocked.

A striped cat perching on the step eyed her without getting up. The cat's plump calm reassured Fawn, together with the good repair of the house's faded shingles and fieldstone foundation, so that when a comfortably middle-aged farmwife opened the door, Fawn's heart was hardly pounding at all.

"Yes, child?" said the woman.

I'm not a child, I'm just short, Fawn bit back; given the crinkles at the corners of the woman's friendly eyes, maybe Fawn's basket of years would still seem scant to her. "You sell bread?"

The farmwife's glance around took in her aloneness. "Aye; step in."

A broad hearth at one end of the room heated it beyond summer, and was crowded with pots hanging from iron hooks. Delectable smells of ham and beans, corn and bread and cooking fruit mingled in the moist air, noon meal in the making for the gang of hay cutters. The farmwife folded back a cloth from a lumpy row on a side table, fresh loaves from a workday that had doubtless started before dawn. Despite her nausea Fawn's mouth watered, and she picked out a loaf that the woman told her was rolled inside with crystal honey and hickory nuts. Fawn fished out a coin, wrapped the loaf in her kerchief, and took it back outside. The woman walked along with her.

"The water's clean and free, but you have to draw it yourself," the woman told her, as Fawn tore off a corner of the loaf and nibbled. "Ladle's on the hook. Which way were you heading, child?"

"To Glassforge."

"By yourself?" The woman frowned. "Do you have people there?"

"Yes," Fawn lied.

"Shame on them, then. Word is there's a pack of robbers on the road near Glassforge. They shouldn't have sent you out by yourself."

"South or north of town?" asked Fawn in worry.

"A ways south, I heard, but there's no saying they'll stay put."

"I'm only going as far south as Glassforge." Fawn set the bread on the bench beside her pack, freed the latch for the crank, and let the bucket fall till a splash echoed back up the well's cool stone sides, then began turning.

Robbers did not sound good. Still, they were a frank hazard. Any fool would know enough not to go near them. When Fawn had started on this miserable journey six days ago, she had cadged rides from wagons at every chance as soon as she'd walked far enough from home not to risk encountering someone who knew her. Which had been fine until that one fellow who'd said stupid things that made her very uncomfortable and followed up with a grab and a grope. Fawn had managed to break away, and the man had not been willing to abandon his rig and restive team to chase her down, but she might have been less lucky. After that, she'd hidden discreetly in the verge from the occasional passing carts until she was sure there was a woman or a family aboard.

The few bites of bread were helping settle her stomach already. She hoisted the bucket onto the bench and took the wooden dipper the woman handed down to her. The water tasted of iron and old eggs, but was clear and cold. Better. She would rest a while on this bench in the shade, and perhaps this afternoon she would make better time.

From the road to the north, hoofbeats and a jingle of harness sounded. No creak or rattle of wheels, but quite a lot of hooves. The farmwife glanced up, her eyes narrowing, and her hand rose to the cord on the bell clapper.

"Child," she said, "see those old apple trees at the side of the yard? Why don't you just go skin up one and stay quiet till we see what this is, eh?"

Fawn thought of several responses, but settled on, "Yes'm." She started across the yard, turned back and grabbed her loaf, then trotted to the small grove. The closest tree had a set of boards nailed to the side like a ladder, and she scrambled up quickly through branches thick with leaves and hard little green apples. Her dress was dyed dull blue, her jacket brown; she would blend with the shadows here as . . .


Excerpted from The Sharing Knife Volume One by Lois Bujold Copyright © 2006 by Lois Bujold. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

One of the most respected writers in the field of speculative fiction, Lois McMaster Bujold burst onto the scene in 1986 with Shards of Honor, the first of her tremendously popular Vorkosigan Saga novels. She has received numerous accolades and prizes, including two Nebula Awards for best novel (Falling Free and Paladin of Souls), four Hugo Awards for Best Novel (Paladin of Souls, The Vor Game, Barrayar, and Mirror Dance), as well as the Hugo and Nebula Awards for her novella The Mountains of Mourning. Her work has been translated into twenty-one languages. The mother of two, Bujold lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Beguilement (Sharing Knife Series #1) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely my favorite sieries of the many good books by Lois McMaster Bujold.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All Bujold's books are masterfully constructed, and she is the best at developing and revealing character in the business. That is why I am not quite willing to brush off my residual feelings of dissatisfaction with this book, and, indeed, the entire series, minor as that dissatisfaction may be; because I know she is fully capable of selling me fully on Fawn as a character, and she doesn't do that here. Really, I think it's a caseof a writer falling too much in love with her own character. Once that happens, the reader has a natural tendency to reject this bludgeoning with the character's so strenuously touted virtues. I certainly do. In the end, I didn't love Fawn, didn't buy that she was wrongfully treated by her family, and quickly stopped respecting Dag, due to his continual irresponsible choices (which they were, despite Bujold's efforts to convince us otherwise.) He is old enough to know better, even if Fawn is not. None of this would matter, if it weren't so plain that Fawn and Dag are meant to be very paragons of humanity. They do not work for me in this role. Nonetheless, the book is well worth reading for the quality of the prose alone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting and well-written. Loved it.
redwing57 More than 1 year ago
The book is definitely the beginning of a series, and it lays the groundwork for future adventures. The focus of this first book is character and world development, and it is rich on both counts. It is also a love story, and it ties the main characters together and gives them a strong, but complex, relationship. I bought the next two books and will be reading on to see where this leads.
NancySBrandt More than 1 year ago
I got this book out of the library after hearing Ms. Bujold speak at a science fiction/fantasy con. She was on a Hard Fantasy panel, and as I am a fantasy author, I was very interested. I had heard of her before but had never read anything she'd written. I got the impression from the con that she tends to write science fiction and I don't read that. However, I wanted to read some of her fantasies to see what her writing is like. One disclaimer about this review - I read like a writer and I tend to analyze technique and what I say may or may not make sense to you but here are my thoughts. First, let me say I was pleasantly surprised to discover this is, at the heart of it, a romance. I come from a romance background and I loved that about this. The world building is fabulous. I felt as though I could clearly picture Fawn's family and their farm. I love Dag's interest in the differing customs between Lakewalkers and Farmers. It was a good way to show us that the author has thought through all this. There's a whole world, possibly a whole "universe" behind these two characters and that makes the book feel as though it could really happen. Fawn's family is well developed. In a story like this, it's easy to create a family and give the main character several siblings, then let those siblings stand as cardboard cut outs, placeholders. Fawn's brothers are not that. They each have their own personalities and you can tell them apart. Her parents are well-developed, as well. Dag's "family," while not exactly similar, is also a unique and fascinated culture. As you read, you feel as though you know these people and can feel the history Dag shares with them. All in all, I can see now why Bujold has so many fans and I definitely will want to read more of her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I came to Lois McMaster Bujold much later than I should have--years after friends had told me to read her books--but I'm grateful because it meant I didn't have to wait for all four of the books in this series to come out. I read them one after the other as fast as I could get my hands on them. Bujold's prose style in both this series and her other fantasy novels (the best of which are Curse of Chalion and The Paladin of Souls) is beautiful. The characters are compelling and complex. The plot is secondary in this series: there's just enough depth and purpose in the plot to give the books a narrative drive to keep everything moving, but I was so much more interested in who the characters were and how they'd deal with each other than in the action sequences. (The plots in Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls, on the other hand, are much more action driven if that's what you're looking for.) Be sure to get the other books in the series as well--they're all interesting, if in slightly different ways.
mjfoxfl More than 1 year ago
This book and its sequals are to be found in the Science Fiction shelves of the store. However, if someone slipped up and put them in the Romance shelves they would not miss a beat. The characters are solid and individually interest- ing. Combined they make for a good solid Sci-Fi read with a romance element that I found compelling. And this last from a male who usually accepts only a minimum of that.
harstan More than 1 year ago
After learning she is pregnant, Fawn Bluefield runs away from home, but is noticed by the Lakewalker Dag Lakewalkers can use ground senses to manipulate energy that enables them to use ¿magic¿ to kill evil creatures known as malices with specially prepared knives. Dag rescues Fawn when two mud-men created by the malice attack her,. He goes hunting itknowing that only one malice left to grow can destroy the world.------------- However, the mud-men kidnap her and take her to the malice¿s lair where Dag finds her. He tosses her two knives that she uses to kill the malice. One knife becomes primed after she lost her baby in the fight with the malice. Dag takes Fawn to a hotel that welcomes Lakewalkers so that she can recuperate from her ordeal. They begin to know one another and they fall in love although Dag knows Lakewalkers only mate with their own kind.------------------ Readers get to see up close and understand the Lakewalker culture with pressure to conform to their value while also receiving an exciting romantic fantasy adventure. The heroine is courageous as she leaves behind her family to give her baby a fresh start Dag seems wiser yet totally charmed by the outsider¿s feisty independence. Lois McMaster Bujold creates strong realistic characters while building a unique world. This tale showcases the remarkable skills of this grandmistress.-------------- Harriet Klausner
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An excellent fantasy. This books and every one is the series is fantastic.
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Read this series after the Vor Saga books and loved them all! Great characters and enjoyable reading
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