Horizon (Sharing Knife Series #4)

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In a world where malices—remnants of ancient magic—can erupt with life-destroying power, only soldier-sorcerer Lakewalkers have mastered the ability to kill them. But Lakewalkers keep their uncanny secrets—and themselves—from the farmers they protect, so when patroller Dag Redwing Hickory rescued farmer girl Fawn Bluefield, neither expected to fall in love, join their lives in marriage, or defy both their kin to seek new solutions to the perilous split between their peoples.

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The Sharing Knife, Volume Four: Horizon

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In a world where malices—remnants of ancient magic—can erupt with life-destroying power, only soldier-sorcerer Lakewalkers have mastered the ability to kill them. But Lakewalkers keep their uncanny secrets—and themselves—from the farmers they protect, so when patroller Dag Redwing Hickory rescued farmer girl Fawn Bluefield, neither expected to fall in love, join their lives in marriage, or defy both their kin to seek new solutions to the perilous split between their peoples.

As Dag's maker abilities have grown, so has his concern about who—or what—he is becoming. At the end of a great river journey, Dag is offered an apprenticeship to a master groundsetter in a southern Lakewalker camp. But as his understanding of his powers deepens, so does his frustration with the camp's rigid mores with respect to farmers. At last, he and Fawn decide to travel a very different road—and find that along it, their disparate but hopeful company increases.

Fawn and Dag see that their world is changing, and the traditional Lakewalker practices cannot hold every malice at bay forever. Yet for all the customs that the couple has challenged thus far, they will soon be confronted by a crisis exceeding their worst imaginings, one that threatens their Lakewalker and farmer followers alike. Now the pair must answer in earnest the question they've grappled with since they killed their first malice together: When the old traditions fail disastrously, can their untried new ways stand against their world's deadliest foe?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Bujold's Sharing Knife series concludes on a cheerful note that will please fans of fantasy romance. The Lakewalkers have been humanity's only defense against the Malices, vicious creatures who turn their victims into murderous zombie-like "mudmen." Dag, a former patroller exiled for insisting that the deliberately aloof Lakewalkers reach out to farmers, has finally found a Lakewalker "medicine maker" willing to teach him healing magic. When Dag disobeys the rules to help a seriously ill farm boy, he's kicked out again, and he and his pregnant farmer-born bride, Fawn, head north to a friend's home, braving mountains swarming with mudmen. The frontierlike setting and its postapocalyptic elements are the stars here. Although the first half of the book is slow going, Bujold piles on the action later, making her characters earn their happy ending. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

With a small group of loyal friends, Lakewalker Dag Redwing Hickory and his farmer-born wife, Fawn Bluefield, have finally reached the port city of Graymouth only to learn that if Dag is to control his new power as a healer, he must find a teacher. Bujold ("Vorkosigan Saga") excels at blending strongly developed characters and complex social interactions, and her eventful conclusion to her latest series proves that her talent for storytelling persists regardless of genre. A strong addition to most libraries, particularly where the series has a following.

—Jackie Cassada
Anniston Star
“As always, Bujold delivers us a world that is completely realized and populated with people, not characters . . . . The depth of both world and characters, even incidental ones, makes Horizon an engrossing, satisfying read and a fitting conclusion to the series.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433235924
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2009
  • Series: Sharing Knife Series, #4
  • Format: Cassette
  • Pages: 12

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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Read an Excerpt

The Sharing Knife, Volume Four


By Lois Bujold
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009

Lois Bujold
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061375361

Chapter One

The Drowntown day market was in full spate. Fawn's nostrils flared at the strong smells: fish, clams, critters with twitching legs like giant crawdads packed in seaweed; frying funnel cakes, boiling crabs, dried fruit, cheeses; piles of used clothing not well laundered; chickens, goats, sheep, horses. Mixed with it all, the damp tang of the river Gray, stretching so wide its farther shore became a flat blur in the winter morning light.

The lead-colored water shimmered in silence beyond the bright busy blot of folks collected under the bluffs that divided Graymouth's Uptown from its noisier—and, Fawn had to admit, more noisome—riverside. The muddy banks were lined with flatboats at the ends of their journeys, keelboats preparing new starts, and fishing and coastal vessels that came and went more in rhythm with the still-ten-miles-distant sea than with the river's moods. The streets dodged crookedly around goods-sheds, rivermen's taverns, and shacks—all built of dismantled flatboats, or, in some cases, not dismantled but drawn ashore intact on rollers by oxen and allowed to settle into the soil. The owners of the latter claimed to be all ready for the next flood that would try, and fail, to wash the smells and mess of Drowntown out to sea, while Uptownlooked down dry-skirted. It seemed a strange way to live. How had she ever thought of the rocky creek at the foot of her family's farm back north as a river?

Fawn shoved her basket up her arm, nudged her companion Remo, and pointed. "Look! There's some new Lakewalkers here this morning!"

At the other end of the square, where all the bigger animals were displayed by their hopeful owners, two women and a man tended a string of half a dozen leggy horses. The three all wore Lakewalker dress: riding trousers, sturdy boots, shirts and leather vests and jackets, not so different in kind from the farmers around them, yet somehow distinctive. More distinctive was their hair, worn long in decorated braids, their height, and their air of discomfort to be surrounded by so many ¬people who weren't Lakewalkers. Upon reflection, Fawn wondered if anyone else here realized the standoffishness was discomfort, or if they only thought it high-nosed disdain. She would have seen it that way, once.

"Mm," said Remo unenthusiastically. "I suppose you want to go talk to them?"

"Of course." Fawn dragged him toward the far end of the market.

The man pulled a horse out of the string and held it for a farmer, who bent and ran his hands over its legs. The two young women looked toward Fawn and Remo as they approached; their eyes widened a bit at Remo, whose height, clothes, and long black braid also proclaimed him a Lakewalker patroller. Did their groundsenses reached out to touch the stranger-kinsman, or did they keep them closed against the painful ground noise of the surrounding farmers?

The southern Lakewalkers Fawn had seen so far tended to lighter skin and hair than their northern cousins, and these two were no exception. The taller woman—girl—she seemed not so very much older than Fawn, anyhow—had hair in a single thick plait as tawny as a bobcat pelt. Her silvery-blue eyes were bright in her fine-boned face. The shorter woman had red-brown braids wreathing her head, and coppery eyes in a round face dusted with freckles. Fawn thought they might be patrol partners, like Remo and Barr; they seemed unlikely to be sisters.

" 'Morning!" Fawn called cheerfully, looking up at them. The top of her own dark curls came up just past the middle of Remo's chest, and not much farther on these women. At almost-nineteen, Fawn had given up hope of gaining further inches except maybe around, and resigned herself to a permanent crick in her neck.

The reddish-haired woman returned a nod; the bobcat blonde, seeming uncertain how to take the odd pair, addressed herself to a height halfway between them. " 'Morning. You all interested in a horse? We've some real fine bloodstock, here. Strong hooves. One of these could carry a man all the way up the Tripoint Trace and never pull up lame." She gestured toward the string, well brushed despite their winter coats, who gazed back and flicked their tufted ears. Beyond, the Lakewalker man trotted the horse toward and away from the farmer, who stood hands on hips, frowning judiciously.

"I thought Lakewalkers only sold off their culls to farmers?" said Fawn innocently. The redhead's slight flinch was more from guilt than insult, Fawn thought. Some horse traders. Suppressing a grin, she went on: "Anyhow, no, at least not today. What I was wondering was, what camp you folks hailed from, and if you have any real good medicine makers there."

The blonde replied at once, in a practiced-sounding tone, "Lakewalkers can't treat farmers."

"Oh, I know all about that." Fawn tossed her head. "I'm not asking for myself."

Two braided heads turned toward Remo, who blushed. Remo hated to blush, he'd said, because the awkwardness of it always made him blush worse than the original spur. Fawn watched his deepening tinge with fascination. She could not sense the flick of questing groundsenses, but she had no doubt that a ¬couple went by just then. "No, I'm not sick, either," Remo said. "It's not for us."

"Are you two together?" asked the blonde, silver-blue eyes narrowing in a less friendly fashion. Lovers together, Fawn guessed she meant to imply, which Lakewalkers were emphatically not supposed to be with farmers.

"Yes. No! Not like that. Fawn's a friend," said Remo. "The wife of a friend," he added in hasty emphasis.

"We still can't help you. Medicine makers can't fool with farmers," the redhead seconded her companion.

"Dag's a Lakewalker." Fawn shouldered forward, keeping herself from clutching the Lakewalker wedding braid circling her left wrist under her sleeve. Or brandishing it, leading to the eternal explanation and defense of its validity. "And he's not sick." Exactly. "He used to be a patroller, but he thinks he has a calling now for making. He already knows lots, and he can do some, some amazing things, which is why he needs a real good guide, to help him along his next step." Whatever it is. Even Dag did not seem sure, to Fawn's concerned eyes.


Excerpted from The Sharing Knife, Volume Four by Lois Bujold Copyright © 2009 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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 31 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Satisfying Conclusion to an Engaging Series

    I recently have read the first 3 books in this series, and they just keep getting more intriguing. I'd read and loved Bujold's other fantasy series that started with "The Curse of Chalion," and found them a great read. I'd call that one High Fantasy, this is a series though that has hints of science-fiction in it that could explain the magical world, and is set in what could be the far future, but has a 19th century American frontier feel. The first book plays somewhat like a conventional romance book (somewhat May/November, the heroine is 18, the hero 55, but they work well together), only far better written than the books I find in the romance aisle.

    The first "Sharing Knife" book, Beguilement, is more a set up for the books to follow, which pull you closer and closer into this world. Bujold is wonderful at world-building and at creating characters you can fall in love with, and even her more unsympathetic characters are rounded and understandable. All are certainly page-turners, and this one is arguably the best of the four and did not disappoint.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    beguiling thought provoking tale

    The Malices continue their success of converting helpless humans into murderous ¿mudmen.¿ The only resistance against the evil Malices remains the Lakewalkers although they remain standoffish without offering pragmatic advice.<BR/><BR/>Former patroller Dag Hickory was fired and exiled for crossing the forbidden demarcation zone between his peer group and that of the the farmers when he rescued Fawn Bluefield from an assault, fell in love with the farmer¿s daughter, and married her; she too is exiled from her community. He demands the Lakewalkers get involved with the community they claim to protect. He persuades Lakewalker groundsetter to mentor and teach him the magical art of healing, but crosses another taboo line again when he uses his new skill to heal a gravely ill farm child. Dag and his pregnant wife travel through the mountains teeming with mudmen trying to reach the haven of a friend even as the world they may have to leave behind is teetering on the brink of collapse.<BR/><BR/>The fourth cerebral Sharing Knife fantasy (see PASSAGE, LEGACY and BEGUILEMENT) continues to explore the negative impact of prejudice on people. Each of the three prime groups have vivid pictures of how they see the other two races and cannot move past those deep rooted beliefs even when it negatively impacts their well-being and that of their loved ones. This causes cultural stagnation that stifles potential as everyone is forced into the limited norm, exiled or killed. Bias is so bone marrow deep that the only hope to save the world (Dag and Fawn) is pariahs in the communities they respectively grew up in. Once again Lois McMaster Bujold provides a beguiling thought provoking tale with the audience wondering if a new HORIZON has formed or will distrust of those different continue to rule and destroy.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013

    Captivating continuation

    A delightful well written story. The author tells a great story with descriptions that are delightfully erudite while involving the imagination.

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  • Posted February 1, 2012

    An enjoyable ensemble piece

    The little party of players was assembled in book 3 and now is the payoff. Fawn and Dag go on a journey toward a new way of life, a new family and and a new home. Dag has to discover a way to channel his new and frightening abilities. This involves visiting a nearby Lakewalker camp to convince a mage instructor to take on an unconventional student.
    During the course of the story, old prejudices and injustices have to be overcome. Human and inhuman monsters are encountered along the way. Every person, Farmer, Lakewalker, and Half-blood) on the journey is tested, and all have important roles to play in the final outcome. I liked the way that all the characters have developed during the course of this series. I hated to leave the world LM Bujold had created.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2009

    Another good read from LMB!

    Good plot and carry thru from the previous books in the series. Now the world can start afresh!

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  • Posted June 13, 2009

    Wonderful Series

    The entire series is a wonderful, and engrossing world to escape into for several evenings of enjoyment and great story-telling. The only tning I regret about this book is that it is the end of a series where I came to care about the characters and loved the world where they lived.

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  • Posted May 4, 2009

    Great Book!

    I don't actually know if this is the last of the sharing knife books, but it was really enjoyable. I always look forward to Bujold's books, but I'm reluctant to get involved in a series whose books consistently end with cliffhangers. When I started Horizon I worried that I would be left unsatisfied, hanging and waiting for what came next in the lives of Fawn and Dag, but Bujold made this book feel like a conclusion, while leaving plenty of things to wonder about in the lives of her characters. I'd love to see a fifth book, but the ending to this one made me hold it for awhile and sigh after.

    It reads like a combination western and great trek novel, which is interesting and new in a fantasy/scifi setting.

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  • Posted March 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Sharing Knife - Horizon

    This book was just as good as the first in the series. The characters come alive and you feel like you are right in the situation with them. I love her writing style. This book started out a little slow, in my opinion, but picked up as the story went along and from then on I had a hard time putting it down. I hope she continues with this series. It is a unique storyline and I love all of the characters she has created...even the bad guys are interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2009

    Sharing Knife is a Must read series!

    Book 4 takes twists and turns and keeps you glued to it for the last 100 pages! Very realistic characters, events and plot, as are all of her stories. Book 4 brings the conclusion in an unexpected way, every little detail building from book one to the end of book four. Every adventure contributing. Action, Adventure, Romance and charactors point of veiw.

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  • Posted December 12, 2008

    Malice, muddy ground and determination

    Lois McMaster Bujold has succeeded in capturing our attention with Horizon. Spellbound to the book I've read it three times since the book came. It is sad to think of this as a conclusion as there is so much more yet for the lakewalkers and farmers struggle. Bujold has shown strife between two sides can be overcome and in a thoughtful and enjoyable way. As Fawn finds Arkady a master groundsetter to help Dag continue their journey into exploring Dag's abilities. Arkady can teach Dag the skills but is worried about the dirty ground Dag has accumulated. Dag's desire to help farmers though, rips apart another lakewalker community. Dag, Fawn, Barr and Remo along with Arkady decide to head back north to meet up Whit and his new wife. They become guides to a party heading north to start a new life in unsettled lands up north. Now a new problem has risen with the half blood young wife and a lovely lakewalker sent to bring Arkady back to the southern camp. If things were not interesting enough a new kind of threat as they run into a party of mudmen and Malice that are fleeing an even larger terror. Will Dags discovery's help save the party?

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    Posted July 28, 2011

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    Posted December 17, 2008

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    Posted January 10, 2010

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    Posted August 1, 2011

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    Posted September 30, 2009

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    Posted July 21, 2010

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    Posted August 8, 2011

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    Posted March 17, 2009

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    Posted February 17, 2012

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    Posted May 13, 2011

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