Forest Mage (Soldier Son Series #2)

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Overview

"The prestigious King's Cavalla of Gernia has been ravaged by the Speck plague. The deadly disease has decimated the ranks of both cadets and instructors, and the few survivors remain weak and frail. Many have been forced to relinquish their military ambitions and will return to their families to face lives of dependency and disappointment." "As the academy infirmary empties, cadet Nevare Burvelle also prepares to journey home. But far from being a broken man, Nevare has made an astonishing robust recovery from the Speck plague. Furthermore, ...
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Overview

"The prestigious King's Cavalla of Gernia has been ravaged by the Speck plague. The deadly disease has decimated the ranks of both cadets and instructors, and the few survivors remain weak and frail. Many have been forced to relinquish their military ambitions and will return to their families to face lives of dependency and disappointment." "As the academy infirmary empties, cadet Nevare Burvelle also prepares to journey home. But far from being a broken man, Nevare has made an astonishing robust recovery from the Speck plague. Furthermore, while in the grip of the plague, he defeated his Speck nemesis, freeing himself, he believes, from the Speck magic that infected him. As he begins the journey to his ancestral home of Widevale, he is in high spirits, expecting a jubilant homecoming, a tender reunion with his beautiful fiancee, Carsina, and a bright future as a commissioned officer." "Yet back in the shelter of his family, Nevare finds his nights still haunted by visions of his Speck self betraying everything he holds dear in his waking life, and his days tormented by a rare side effect of the Speck plague that shames his family - and repulses Carsina. Though he expected to slip back into his family fold effortlessly, Nevare finds himself instead caught between the sensual, enchanting realm of the Specks and his own ancestry, the world he has always known." And then the magic in Nevare's blood - magic that he thought he had destroyed - roars to life, and he realizes that his most dangerous enemy, an enemy that seeks to destroy all he loves, might dwell within him.
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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
Dark mysticism and primordial natural magic clash with the ever-expanding boundaries of the "civilized" world in the second volume of Robin Hobb's Soldier Son trilogy, Forest Mage.

The sequel to 2005's Shaman's Crossing finds protagonist Nevare Burvelle -- the second son of a nobleman and destined for a career in the military -- with his world turned upside down. After surviving a plague that wiped out many of the students and instructors at the king's military academy, Nevare returns home for his brother's wedding, only to learn that he has been medically discharged from the school. The plague usually leaves its survivors skeletally thin, but Nevare, inexplicably, has begun to gain massive amounts of weight. With his family believing he's a glutton, Nevare is disowned by his father and eventually ends up finding work as a lowly cemetery guard in a frontier town near the border with the Specks, a race of dapple-skinned forest dwellers who possess powerful natural magic. But in a world where technology never stops advancing, can the Specks survive? And what does the suddenly bloated Nevare have to do with their struggle?

Set in a sprawling, vividly described realm that is as majestic as it is menacing, and powered by some extremely topical themes (environmentalism, cultural homogenization, human rights, religious persecution, etc.), the Soldier Son trilogy is easily Hobb's most significant work to date. Incorporating elements of military fantasy, New Age spirituality, and political allegory, Forest Mage can be faulted only for suffering from a serious case of middle-volume syndrome: As the second installment of a trilogy, it lacks both a true beginning and a satisfactory ending. All will be forgotten, however, when the concluding volume (tentatively entitled Renegade Magic) of this unique and powerfully moving saga is released in 2007. Paul Goat Allen
Library Journal
Saved by magic from the plague, Nevare Burvelle returns home to family tragedy and the lure of an even more powerful magic; it tells you what to do. With a five-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
London Times
“Gripping.”
Locus
“Refreshing. . . . There’s a truthfulness to her creation that is lacking in some of the more slapdash fantasies.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780007196173
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager
  • Publication date: 7/28/2007
  • Series: Soldier Son Series , #2

Meet the Author

Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb was born in California but grew up in Alaska. It was there that she learned to love the forest and the wilderness. She has lived most of her life in the Pacific Northwest and currently resides in Tacoma, Washington. She is the author of five critically acclaimed fantasy series: The Rain Wilds Chronicles (Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven, City of Dragons, Blood of Dragons), The Soldier Son Trilogy, The Tawny Man Trilogy, The Liveship Traders Trilogy, and The Farseer Trilogy. She also writes as Megan Lindholm, and under that name is the author of The Wizard of the Pigeons, Windsingers, and Cloven Hooves. The Inheritance, a collection of stories, was written under both names. Her short fiction has won the Asimov's Readers' Award and she has been a finalist for both the Nebula and Hugo awards.

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Read an Excerpt

Forest Mage

Book Two of The Soldier Son Trilogy
By Robin Hobb

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Robin Hobb
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060757639

Chapter One

Forest Dreams

There is a fragrance in the forest. It does not come from a single flower or leaf. It is not the rich aroma of dark crumbly earth or the sweetness of fruit that has passed from merely ripe to mellow and rich. The scent I recalled was a combination of all these things, and of sunlight touching and awakening their essences and of a very slight wind that blended them perfectly. She smelled like that.

We lay together in a bower. Above us, the distant top of the canopy swayed gently, and the beaming rays of sunlight danced over our bodies in time with them. Vines and creepers that draped from the stretching branches above our heads formed the sheltering walls of our forest pavilion. Deep moss cushioned my bare back, and her soft arm was my pillow. The vines curtained our trysting place with their foliage and large, pale green flowers. The sepals pushed past the fleshy lips of the blossoms and were heavy with yellow pollen. Large butterflies with wings of deep orange traced with black were investigating the flowers. One insect left a drooping blossom, alighted on my lover's shoulder, and walked over her soft dappled flesh. I watched it unfurl a coiled black tongue to taste the perspiration thatdewed the forest woman's skin, and envied it.

I lay in indescribable comfort, content beyond passion. I lifted a lazy hand to impede the butterfly's progress. Fearlessly, it stepped onto my fingers. I raised it to be an ornament in my lover's thick and tousled hair. She opened her eyes at my touch. She had hazel eyes, green mingling with soft brown. She smiled. I leaned up on my elbow and kissed her. Her ample breasts pressed against me, startling in their softness.

"I'm sorry," I said softly, tilting back from the kiss. "I'm so sorry I had to kill you."

Her eyes were sad but still fond. "I know," she replied. There was no rancor in her voice. "Be at peace with it, soldier's boy. All will come true as it was meant to be. You belong to the magic now, and whatever it must have you do, you will do."

"But I killed you. I loved you and I killed you."

She smiled gently. "Such as we do not die as others do."

"Do you yet live then?" I asked her. I pulled my body back from hers and looked down between us at the mound of her belly. It gave the lie to her words. My cavalla saber had slashed her wide open. Her entrails spilled from that gash and rested on the moss between us. They were pink and liverish-gray, coiling like fat worms. They had piled up against my bare legs, warm and slick. Her blood smeared my genitals. I tried to scream and could not. I struggled to push away from her, but we had grown fast together.

"Nevare!"

I woke with a shudder and sat up in my bunk, panting silently through my open mouth. A tall pale wraith stood over me. I gave a muted yelp before I recognized Trist. "You were whimpering in your sleep," Trist told me. I compulsively brushed at my thighs, and then lifted my hands close to my face. In the dim moonlight through the window, they were clean of blood.

"It was only a dream," Trist assured me.

"Sorry," I muttered, ashamed. "Sorry I was noisy."

"It's not like you're the only one to have nightmares." The thin cadet sat down on the foot of my bed. Once he had been whiplash-lean and limber. Now he was skeletal and moved like a stiff old man. He coughed twice and then caught his breath. "Know what I dream?" He didn't wait for my reply. "I dream I died of Speck plague. Because I did, you know. I was one of the ones who died, and then revived. But I dream that instead of holding my body in the infirmary, Dr. Amicas let them put me out with the corpses. In my dream, they toss me in the pit grave, and they throw the quicklime down on me. I dream I wake up down there, under all those bodies that stink of piss and vomit, with the lime burning into me. I try to climb out, but they just keep throwing more bodies down on top of me. I'm clawing and pushing my way past them, trying to get out of the pit through all that rotting flesh and bones. And then I realize that the body I'm climbing over is Nate. He's all dead and decaying, but he opens his eyes and he asks, 'Why me, Trist? Why me and not you?' " Trist gave a sudden shudder and huddled his shoulders.

"They're only dreams, Trist," I whispered. All around us, the other first-years who had survived the plague slumbered on. Someone coughed in his sleep. Someone else muttered, yipped like a puppy, and then grew still. Trist was right. Few of us slept well anymore. "They're only bad dreams. It's all over. The plague passed us by. We survived."

"Easy for you to say. You recovered. You're fit and hearty." He stood up. His nightshirt hung on his lanky frame. In the dim dormitory, his eyes were dark holes. "Maybe I survived, but the plague didn't pass me by. I'll live with what it did to me to the end of my days. You think I'll ever lead a charge, Nevare? I can barely manage to keep standing through morning assembly. I'm done as a soldier. Done before I started. I'll never live the life I expected to lead."

Trist stood up. He shuffled away from my bed and back to his. He was breathing noisily by the time he sat down on his bunk.

Slowly I lay back down. I heard Trist cough again, wheeze, and then lie down. It was no comfort to me . . .

Continues...


Excerpted from Forest Mage by Robin Hobb Copyright © 2006 by Robin Hobb. 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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 78 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(29)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 78 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2007

    Big fan but disappointed in this one

    When I put down Forest Mage I was deeply disappointed, and had the sinking feeling that I'd just read a 700-page book in which nothing of consequence happened. In retrospect, this wasn't true, but it certainly felt like it because for the last 300 pages, there is very little development, and the ending was horrifically predictable. Nevare made stupid decision after stupid decision, and even when you can see problems coming down the road with 200 pages left to read, Nevare does nothing until they blow up in his face. Hobb, whose Farseer Trilogy remains my favorite trilogy of all time, even steals one of the plot devices she used in the second book of that trilogy to end this one. I'll still read the third book of the series, but I think 200-300 pages could have been cut from this book. While those pages were used to establish Nevare's character, I think I would have liked him better if I didn't read those 200 pages of him either whining or procrastinating.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2007

    A reviewer

    All right, the majority of the reviews here bash this book and say its slow and depressing. In that, they are right. But, as you read, it is clear that all of the action is building up and up and up, and in the last few chapters, it explodes and leaves you going 'WHAT???' Robin Hobb has crafted this book to draw out and enlarge the conflict(s) that Nevare has to confront, and how in the end he cannot run away from them try though he might. Bascially, this second book in the series lays the groundwork for the explosive conclusion to this trilogy that I personally cannot wait for. My theory is that you have to wade through the unpleasantness first to get the gold.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    Angel

    Ight ill stay. Not like i was going out anyway. * falls on floor*

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    Max

    *pulls away* ummmmm .............

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    Kiley to max

    Ok i know wat? Im done..*kissds u* jake is stupid

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    Jake

    Wakes up watching kiy kiss max. Silently get up and walks awy with jr crying

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    Megs

    Goes after jake...im sorry

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    Sparrowflight

    "U know but still sunclan isnt very clan friendly."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    Searingpaw and Ashenpaw

    Searingpaw stands boldly next to Breezepaw. "We'll hunt where we like!" Ashenpaw shakes her head. "Not the smartest thing to say..."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    Stormdust

    Fine ill just have to bring this up with sparrowflight maybe delay your warrior training for a few weeks hows that or maybe u will never get ur warrior name for not listening to a higher posituon than you!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    Shadowhound

    Goes back to his clan

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    Heetwo to Mist

    He padds over to you. "Hello." He whispered.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    Misty

    Safe result 5.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2013

    Kamara

    I have a track meet today. Finish this after school? See yathen Kamara

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    To nattieu want a mate? Foxburr

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Edenstar to Shinepaw

    Come on back to camp.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Leopardpaw

    What happened?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Shinepaw

    Smiled. Thanx! I could ask Edenstar. Shinepaw

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2012

    Zane

    Well, that's an accomplishment. It's not like people make thirty friends every day by sitting in a field.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2012

    Rain

    U go firl

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