Passage (Sharing Knife Series #3)

( 27 )


Volume three in the epic fantasy sagafrom multiple Hugo Award-winning author Lois McMaster Bujold

Young Fawn Bluefield and soldier-sorcerer Dag Redwing Hickory have survived magical dangers, but the bigotry of blood kin cannot be easily overcome. Leaving behind all that they have ever known, they set off to find fresh solutions to the perilous split between their peoples—a passage that will not be ventured alone. New companions join them on their road: Fawn’s brother, Whit, ...

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The Sharing Knife, Volume Three

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Volume three in the epic fantasy sagafrom multiple Hugo Award-winning author Lois McMaster Bujold

Young Fawn Bluefield and soldier-sorcerer Dag Redwing Hickory have survived magical dangers, but the bigotry of blood kin cannot be easily overcome. Leaving behind all that they have ever known, they set off to find fresh solutions to the perilous split between their peoples—a passage that will not be ventured alone. New companions join them on their road: Fawn’s brother, Whit, escaping a hopeless future on the family farm; two novice Lakewalker patrollers fleeing the catastrophic consequences of an honest mistake; a young flatboat captain searching for her vanished father and fiancé; a shrewd backwoods hunter; and a farmer boy unintentionally beguiled by Dag’s growing magery. On an eventful journey to where great rivers join, the ill-assorted crew will be sorely tested and tempered as they encounter a new world of hazards both human and uncanny.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Nebula and Hugo-winner Bujold explores culture clashes in this compelling third segment of the Sharing Knife series (after 2007's Legacy ). Former Lakewalker captain Dag has been exiled from his family for marrying an outsider, farmer's daughter Fawn. Farmers and riverfolk need the secretive Lakewalkers for their ability to manipulate "ground energy" and battle the deadly blight-causing creatures called malices, but few trust them completely, and the Lakewalkers haven't helped the situation by remaining aloof from the rest of the world. Dag longs to build a bridge of understanding and respect between Lakewalkers and those who depend on their protection. "The old ways have worked for better 'n a thousand years," another Lakewalker captain warns, but as farmers settle dangerous territory and Dag's own groundsense abilities develop in dangerous directions, big changes are inevitable. Bujold excels at creating interesting and sympathetic characters, and this story will satisfy readers who enjoy romance as much as adventure. (May)

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

Fawn Bluefield and her Lakewalker husband, Dag Redwing Hickory, travel to see Fawn's family and receive a reception only slightly less hostile than that given by Dag's family. Deciding to set out on their own, the couple begin a long riverboat journey, accompanied by Dag's seemingly hopeless brother, Whit, and are soon joined by others drawn to the couple's vision and to Dag's growing magical powers. The third installment (after The Sharing Knife: Beguilement and The Sharing Knife: Legacy) in Bujold's latest multivolume saga takes her characters into uncharted lands that test both their talents and their loyalty. The creator of the popular Miles Vorkosigan series writes with skill and insight, making her foray into fantasy a good selection for most libraries, particularly those in which she has a following.
—Jackie Cassada

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061375354
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/30/2008
  • Series: Sharing Knife Series, #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 584,650
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.30 (d)

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 Three

Chapter One

Dag was riding up the lane thinking only of the chances of a Bluefield farm lunch, and his likelihood of needing a nap afterwards, when the arrow hissed past his face.

Panic washing through him, he reached out his right arm and snatched his wife from her saddle. He fell left, dragging them both off and behind the shield of their horses, snapping his sputtering groundsense open wide—range still barely a hundred paces, blight it—torn between thoughts of Fawn, of the knife at his belt, of the unstrung bow at his back, of how many, where? All of it was blotted out in the lightning flash of pain as he landed with both their weights on his healing left leg. His cry of "Spark, get behind me!" transmuted to "Agh! Blight it!" as his leg folded under him. Fawn's mare bolted. His horse Copperhead shied and jerked at the reins still wrapped around the hook that served in place of Dag's left hand; only that, and Fawn's support under his arm as she found her feet, kept him upright.

"Dag!" Fawn yelped as his weight bent her.

Dag straightened, abandoning his twisting reach for his bow, as he at last identified the source of the attack—not with his groundsense, but with his eyes and ears. His brother-in-law Whit Bluefield came running across the yard below the old barn, waving a bow in the air and calling, "Oh, sorry! Sorry!"

Only then did Dag's eye take in the rag target tacked to a red oak tree on the other side of the lane. Well . . . he assumed it was a target, though the only arrow nearby was stuck in the bark about two feet below it. Other spentarrows lay loose on the ground well beyond. The one that had nearly clipped off his nose had plowed into the soil a good twenty paces downslope. Dag let out his pent breath in exasperation, then inhaled deeply, willing his hammering heart to slow.

"Whit, you ham-fisted fool!" cried Fawn, rising on tiptoe to peer over her restive horse-fort. "You nearly shot my husband!"

Whit arrived breathless, repeating, "Sorry! I was so surprised to see you, my hand slipped."

Fawn's mare Grace, who had skittered only a few steps before getting over her alarm at this unusual dismount, put her head down and began tearing at the grass clumps. Whit, familiar with Copperhead's unsociable character, made a wide circle around the horse to his sister's side. Dag let the reins unwrap from his hook and allowed Copperhead to go join Grace, which the chestnut gelding did after a few desultory bucks and cow-kicks, just to register his opinion of the proceedings. Dag sympathized.

"I wasn't aiming at you!" Whit declared anxiously.

"I'm right glad to hear that," drawled Dag. "I know I annoyed a few people around here when I married your sister, but I didn't think you were one of 'em." His lips compressed in a grimmer line. Whit might well have hit Fawn.

Whit flushed. A head shorter than Dag, he was still a head taller than Fawn, whom, after an awkward hesitation, he now embraced. Fawn grimaced, but hugged him back. Both Bluefield heads were crowned with loosely curling black hair, both faces fair-skinned, but while Fawn was nicely rounded, with a captivating sometimes-dimple when she smirked, Whit was skinny and angular, his hands and feet a trifle too big for his body. Still growing into himself even past age twenty, as the length of wrist sticking from the sleeve of his homespun shirt testified. Or perhaps, with no younger brother to hand them down to, he was just condemned to wear out his older clothes.

Dag took a step forward, then hissed, hook-hand clapping to his buckling left thigh. He straightened again with an effort. "Maybe I want my stick after all, Spark."

"Of course," said Fawn, and darted across the lane to retrieve the hickory staff from under Copperhead's saddle flap.

"Are you all right? I know I didn't hit you," Whit protested. His mouth bent down. "I don't hit anything, much."

Dag smiled tightly. "I'm fine. Don't worry about it."

"He is not fine," Fawn amended sternly, returning with the stick. "He got knocked around something fearsome last month when his company rode to put down that awful malice over in Raintree. He hasn't nearly healed up yet."

"Oh, was that your folks, Dag? Was it really a blight bogle—malice," Whit corrected himself to the Lakewalker term, with a duck of his head at Dag. "We heard some pretty wild rumors about a ruckus up by Farmer's Flats—"

Fawn overrode this in concern. "That scar didn't break open when you landed so hard, did it, Dag?"

Dag glanced down at the tan fabric of his riding trousers. No blood leaked through, and the flashes of pain were fading out. "No." He took the stick and leaned on it gratefully. "It'll be fine," he added to allay Whit's wide-eyed look. He squinted in new curiosity at the bow still clutched in Whit's left hand. "What's this? I didn't think you were an archer."

Whit shrugged. "I'm not, yet. But you said you would teach me when—if—you came back. So I was getting ready, getting in some practice and all. Just in case." He held out his bow as if in evidence.

Dag blinked. He had quite forgotten that casual comment from his first visit to West Blue, and was astonished that the boy had apparently taken it so to heart. Dag stared closely, but not a trace of Whit's usual annoying foolery appeared in his face. Huh. Guess I made more of an impression on him than I'd thought.

Whit shook off his embarrassment over his straying shaft, and asked cheerfully, "So, why are you two back so soon? Is your patrol nearby? They could all come up too, you know. Papa wouldn't mind. Or are you on a mission for your Lakewalkers, like that courier fellow who brought your letters and the horses and presents?"

The Sharing Knife, Volume Three
. Copyright © by Lois Bujold. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 27 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009

    Wonderful continuation of the series...

    I hadn't read anything by this author before this series, now I am in the process of obtaining previous works. It's that good! I enjoyed the dialogue, storyline, characters, and even the unexpected bits that continued to surprise. Very much recommeded.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013


    A good captivating read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2012



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  • Posted February 1, 2012

    I Love Dag and Fawn and friends

    This whole series is fun and fulfilling. The book I return to again and again is this one which expands the Tent Family of Dag and Fawn. The first two books introduce the world (cultures) of the Farmers and the Lakewalkers. This book follows them as they begin their mission to build a future for both peoples to become allies as wll as kin.
    The new characters add to the world and all of them learn and grow during the course of their adventures. Once the "shake down cruise" in this volume has been completed, all of the characters are in place for a satifying and exciting finale in Horizon.

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  • Posted June 22, 2009

    Good series

    I love this series though I am not a fan of the artwork. The characters are wonderfully developed though I would expect nothing less from Lois McMaster Bujold.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2009

    Sharing Knife Series 3; Lois McMaster Bujold

    This is another successful creation of an alternative culture, and reality by Bujold.

    It features culture clash in a possible future on an earthlike planet, between a former ruling scientific/ Psi class and ordinary humans. The knowledge/abilities of the ruling class led to power struggles, and misuse of the knowledge and power. This class is now dedicated to using those abilities and knowledge to undo prior damages.

    They hold themselves aloof and keep themselves racially pure, so the talents will breed true, and allow them to pursue their task. They also look down on the "farmers" that they protect.

    Bujold uses a love story between one of the "farmers", a young girl seduced into pregnancy, and running away from home rather than face the consequences, and one of the "patrollers." The patroller, a seasoned veteran senses that his people may be losing in their battle against the ancient evil.

    The first two volumes of this series introduce Fawn and Dag and their respective cultures. Their attempt to form a marraige that will be accepted by both their cultures is frustrated.

    This volume shapes the nature of change he sees as being the best of solutions for both cultures, cooperation.

    I look forward to the final denouement, knowing it will not be simple and straightforward.

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  • Posted April 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    One of the best series

    Like so many of her books, a very complex and believable universe and characters.

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  • Posted March 31, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Moving characters, intriguing story line.

    As always Ms. Bujold writes a moving, intriguing story. Her main characters, Dag and Fawn, are charming, and very human. She uses a folksy style that fits the nature of the story, sort of Huck Finn with magic. I'm looking forward to her next installment in this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    Another winner by a great author

    Since this is the third of a four part series (or so I understand), I would very strongly reccomend reading the first two books before this one. As is common with series books, this one can be read alone but you miss a lot if you don't know what comes before. I would strongly reccomend this book to anyone interested in science fiction/fantasy. It is well-written and very well paced. The background conflicts are well defined and very believable given the basic premises of the series. The action is good but it's more a character driven than a plot driven type of book. This is also common with series books, of course. I can hardly wait for the next book. I hope she doesn't actually stop at four.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    superb cerebral yet action-packed fantasy

    Having his family exile him for marrying outside his community, former Lakewalker captain Dag and his beloved wife, the farmer's daughter Fawn head to her home, Bluefield Farm. His dream of an understanding between farmers, riverfolk and Lakewalkers shattered as each distrusts the others even as they need each other to survive. However, all three groups question the need of change since a millennium of doing things in the old ways has kept the peace and restrained the deadly malices through Lakewalker control of ¿ground energy¿. --- Dag and Fawn lease a houseboat from a riverfolk, but the owner and others and their boats mysteriously vanish soon after. Dag begins to investigate even as he begins to explore his expanding powers now that he ahs broken out of the Lakewalker limits. His ground-sense warns him a new deadly danger to the world order is coming as farmers settle into new lands and riverfolk extend their water world while Lakewalkers remain stagnantly static. --- The third cerebral Sharing Knife fantasy 'see LEGACY and BEGUILEMENT' continues to explore the negative impact of prejudice on people. Each of the three prime groups has vivid pictures of how they see the other two races and cannot get past those beliefs. This causes stagnation limiting development by stifling potential in order to force fit the norm. Thus Dag and Fawn by breaking out of the prejudicial beliefs they cherished grow while others stagnate and their metamorphosis propelled by their love make them the only hope to save a world suddenly in trouble due to expansion into forbidden lands. Well written and extremely exciting, Lois McMaster Bujold will have her audience pondering the wisdom of the PASSAGE. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2008

    The best so far of the series (ARC review)

    I really enjoyed reading the newest addition to the Sharing Knife series. In this venture, Dag and Fawn (having left the Lakewalker community in the book 2)return to Bluefield farm, and continue on their journey with Fawn's brother in tow. They hire a houseboat, and discover a mystery: boats are disappearing, including the family of the owner of the houseboat. The book was extremely engrossing (I think I read it almost non-stop for two days), and as always with Lois McMaster Bujold, well written. The details are always interesting, and Dag's newly found abilities and experiments in groundwork are, at times, humorous, and soul searching. All of the characters grow in interesting ways, and Dag's followers mature in ways that I would not have necessarily expected, but are still in character, and help the story along. While the Sharing Knife books do not appeal to me quite as much as her other series, they're definitely growing on me, and are worthwhile reading (though I admit, I tend to mentally bury the age difference between Dag and Fawn, so his birthday party surprised me anew). If you liked the previous two books, definitely read this one.

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