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.
Horizon (Sharing Knife Series #4)by Lois McMaster Bujold
As Dag's powers have grown, so has his frustration with the Lakewalkers' rigid mores. When the old traditions fail, can Dag's and Fawn's untried new ways stand against their world's deadliest foe?See more details below
As Dag's powers have grown, so has his frustration with the Lakewalkers' rigid mores. When the old traditions fail, can Dag's and Fawn's untried new ways stand against their world's deadliest foe?
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.
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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The Sharing Knife, Volume Four
By Lois Bujold
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009
All right reserved.
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.
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