The Deed of Paksenarrion: Sheepfarmer's Daughter / Divided Allegiance / Oath of Gold

The Deed of Paksenarrion: Sheepfarmer's Daughter / Divided Allegiance / Oath of Gold

by Elizabeth Moon


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Paksenarrion, a simple sheepfarmer's daughter, yearns for a life of adventure and glory, such as was known to heroes in songs and story. At age seventeen she runs away from home to join a mercenary company and begins her epic life. Trained as a mercenary she distinguishes herself, but leaves the Dukes service to follow the path of Gird, the soldier's god. That path leads her on a holy quest for a lost elven prince that brings the gods' wrath down on her and rests her very limits.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780671721046
Publisher: Baen
Publication date: 02/28/1992
Series: Deed of Paksenarrion Series
Edition description: Omnibus
Pages: 1040
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Deed of Paksenarrion

By Elizabeth Moon

Baen Books

ISBN: 0-7434-7160-1

Chapter One

Sheepfarmer's Daughter

"And I say you will!" bellowed the burly sheepfarmer, Dorthan Kanasson. He lunged across the table, but his daughter Paksenarrion sidestepped his powerful arm and darted down the passage to the sleeping rooms. "Pakse!" he yelled, slipping his broad leather belt from its loops. "Pakse, you come here now!" His wife Rahel and three smaller children cowered against the wall. Silence from the sleeping rooms. "Pakse, you come or it will be the worse for you. Will you go to your wedding with welts on your back?"

"I'll not go at all!" came the angry response.

"The dower's been given. You wed Fersin Amboisson next restday. Now come out before I come in."

Suddenly she stood in the mouth of the passage, as tall as he but slender, long blonde hair braided tightly. She had changed to her older brother's clothes, a leather tunic over her own shirt, and his homespun trousers. "I told you not to give dower. I told you I wouldn't wed Fersin or anyone else. And I won't. I'm leaving."

Dorthan glared at her as he wrapped the belt around his right hand. "The only place you're going, you arrogant hussy, is Fersin's bed."

"Dorthan, please-" began Rahel.

"Quiet! She's your fault as much as anyone's. She should have been spinning at home, not running out on the moors hunting with the boys."

Paksenarrion's gray eyes glinted. "It's all right, Mother; don't worry. He'll remember someday that he's the one who sent me out with the flocks so often. Father, I'm leaving. Let me pass."

"Over my dead body," he grunted.

"If need be-" Paksenarrion leaped for the old sword, Kanas's sword, over the fireplace. As she lifted it from the rack, the belt caught her shoulders with its first stroke. Then she was facing Dorthan, sword in hand, with the firelight behind her. The sword felt easy in her grip. Startled, Dorthan jumped back, swinging the belt wildly in her direction. Paksenarrion took her chance and ran for the door, jerked it open, and was gone. Behind her came his furious bellow, and questioning calls from her brothers still working in the barns, but Paksenarrion did not slow or turn until she came to the boundary stone of her father's land. There she thrust her grandfather's sword into the soil.

"I won't have him saying I stole it," she muttered to herself. She turned for a last look at her home. Against the dark bulk of the hill, she could see light at the open front door, and dark figures crossing and recrossing the light. She could hear voices calling her name, then a deep bellow from Dorthan, and all the shapes went in at the door and shut the light in. She was alone, outside the house, and she knew, as well as if she'd seen him do it, that Dorthan had barred the door against her. She shook herself. "It's what I wanted," she said aloud. "So now I'd better go on with it."

The rest of that night she jogged and walked down the well-worn track from her father's farm to Three Firs, warmed by the thought of the coming adventure. She went over her cousin's instructions time after time, trying to remember everything he'd said about recruiting sergeants and mercenary companies and training and drill. In the first light of dawn she walked into Three Firs. Only in the baker's house did she see a gleam of light behind closed shutters, and a plume of smoke out the chimney. She smelled no baking bread. She could not wait until the first baking came out unless the recruiters were still in Three Firs. She walked on to the marketplace. Empty. Of course, they might not be up yet. She looked in the public barn that served as an inn. Empty. They had left. She drew water from the village well, drank deeply, and started off again, this time on the wider track that led to Rocky Ford-or so her cousin had said; she'd never been beyond Three Firs.

As daylight came, she was able to make better time, but it was nearly noon when she came to the outskirts of Rocky Ford. The rich smells of cooking food from the inns and houses nearly made her sick. She pressed on, through what seemed to her like crowds, to the market square in the town's center. There she saw the booth that Jornoth had told her to look for, draped in maroon and white silk, with spears for cornerposts. She paused to catch her breath and look at it. On either side, a man-at-arms with breastplate, helmet, and sword stood guard. Inside was a narrow table, with one stool before it, and a man seated behind. Paksenarrion took a deep breath and walked forward.

As she reached the booth, she realized that she was taller than either of the men-at-arms. She waited for them to say something, but they ignored her. She looked inside. Now she could see that the man behind the table had gray hair, cropped short, and a neatly trimmed mustache. When he looked up at her, his eyes were a warm golden brown.

"This is a recruiting station for Duke Phelan's Company," he said as he met her gaze. "Were you looking for someone?"

"No. I mean, yes. I mean, I was looking for you-for a recruiting station, I mean." Paksenarrion reddened with embarrassment.

"You?" The man stared a moment, then looked down briefly. "You mean you wanted to join the Company?"

"Yes. My-my cousin said such companies accepted women."

"We do, though not so many want to join. Look-mmm-let's get a few things straight before we start. To join us you must be eighteen winters old, healthy, with no deformities, strong, tall enough-you have no problem there-and not too stupid. If you're a drunkard, liar, thief, or devil-worshipper, we'll throw you out the worse for wear. You agree to serve for two years beyond your basic training, which takes four to six months. You get no pay as a recruit, but you do get room, board, and gear as well as training. Your pay as a private in the Company is low, but you'll share any plunder. Is that clear?"

"Aye," said Paksenarrion. "Clear enough. I'm over eighteen, and I'm never sick. I've been working on the moors, with sheep-I can lift as much as my brother Sedlin, and he's a year older."

"Mmm. What do your parents think of your joining an army?"

"Oh." Paksenarrion blushed again. "Well, to be honest, my father doesn't know that's where I am. I-I ran away."

"He wanted you to wed." The man's eyes had a humorous twinkle.

"Yes. A pig farmer-"

"And you wanted someone else."

"Oh no! I didn't-I don't want to marry at all. I want to be a warrior like my cousin Jornoth. I've always liked hunting and wrestling and being outdoors."

"I see. Here, have a seat on the stool." While she sat down, he fished under the table and came up with a leather-bound book which he laid on top. "Let me see your hands-I have to be sure you don't have any prison brands. Fine. Now-you like wrestling, you say. You've arm wrestled?"

"Surely. With my family, and once at market."

"Good. Give me a try; I want to test your strength." They clasped right hands, and on the count began to push against each other's resistance. After several minutes, with neither moving much, the man said "Fine, that's enough. Now let's go left-handed." This time he had the greater strength, and slowly pushed her arm to the table. "That's good enough," he said. "Now-was this decision to join a sudden one?"

"No. Ever since Jornoth left home-and especially after he came back that time-I've wanted to. But he said I had to be eighteen, and then I waited until the recruiting season was almost over, so my father couldn't trace me and cause trouble."

"You said you'd been on the moors-how far from town do you live?"

"From here? Well, we're a half day's sheep drive from Three Firs-"

"Three Firs! You came here from Three Firs today?"

"We live up the other side of Three Firs," said Paksenarrion. "I came through there before dawn, just at first light."

"But that's-that's twenty miles from Three Firs to here, at least. When did you start from home?"

"Late last night, after supper." At the word, her stomach rumbled loudly.

"You must have gone... thirty miles, I don't doubt. Did you eat in Three Firs?"

"No, it was too early. Besides I was afraid I'd miss you here."

"And if you had?"

"I've a few coppers. I'd have gotten some food here and followed you."

"I'll bet you would have, too," the man said. He grinned at her. "Give us your name, then, and let's get you on the books so we can feed you. Any girl who'll go thirty miles or more on foot without stopping to eat ought to make a soldier."

She grinned back. "I'm Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter."


"Paksenarrion," she said slowly, and paused until he had that down. "Dorthansdotter. Of Three Firs."

"Got it." He raised his voice slightly. "Corporal Bosk."

"Sir." One of the men-at-arms turned to look into the tent.

"I'll need the judicar and a couple of witnesses."

"Sir." The corporal stalked off across the square.

"We have to have it all official," the man explained. "This isn't our Duke's domain; we must prove that we didn't take advantage of you, or force you, or forge your signature... you can sign your name, can't you?"


"Good. The Duke encourages all his troops to learn to read and write. Now-" He broke off as a man in a long maroon gown and two women arrived at the booth.

"Got another one before the deadline, eh, Stammel?" said the man. The women, one in cheesemaker's apron and cap, and the other with flour dusting her hands and arms, looked at Paksenarrion curiously.

"This young lady wishes to join," said Stammel shortly. The man winked at him and took out a stone cylinder with carving on one end. "Now," Stammel continued, "if you'll repeat after me in the presence of the judicar and these witnesses: I, Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter, do desire to join Duke Phelan's Company as a recruit and agree to serve two years in this company after recruit training without leave, and do further agree to obey all rules, regulations, and commands which I may be given in that time, fighting whomever and however my commander directs."

Paksenarrion repeated all this in a firm voice, and signed where she was directed, in the leather-bound book. The two women signed beside her name, and the judicar dripped wax underneath and pressed the stone seal in firmly. The cheesemaker patted Paksenarrion on the shoulder as she turned away, and the judicar gave Stammel a final wink and leer.

"Now then," said Stammel. "I'm Sergeant Stammel, as you may have gathered. We usually leave a town at noon; all the rest of the recruits are at The Golden Pig and have eaten. But you need something in your stomach, and a rest before we march. So we'll wait a bit. From here on, you're a recruit, remember. That means you say 'yes, sir' and 'no, sir' to any of us but other recruits, and you do what you're told with no arguing. Clear?"

"Yes, sir," said Paksenarrion

An hour later, seated by a window, Paksenarrion looked curiously at the other recruits lounging in the courtyard of The Golden Pig. Only two were taller than she: a husky youth with tousled yellow hair, and a skinny black-bearded man whose left arm had a tattooed design on it. The shortest was a wiry redheaded boy with an impudent nose and a stained green velvet shirt. She spotted two other women, sitting together on the steps. None had weapons except a dagger for eating, but the black-bearded man wore a sword-belt. Mostly the recruits looked like farm boys and prentices, with a few puffy-faced men beyond her experience. Only the men-at-arms and the recruiting sergeant were in uniform. The others wore the clothes in which they'd joined. She finished the sandwich in her hand and started another; Stammel had told her to eat hearty and take her time. She had downed four sandwiches when Stammel came in again.

"You look better," he remarked. "Is there a short form of that name of yours?"

Paksenarrion had been thinking about that. She never wanted to hear her father's Pakse again. Her great-aunt, for whom she was named, had been called Enarra, but she didn't like that, either. She had finally decided on a form she thought she could live with.

"Yes, sir," she said. "Just call me Paks, if you wish."

"All right, Paks-ready to march?"

"Yes, sir."

"Come on, then." Stammel led the way to the inn courtyard. The other recruits stared as she came down the steps. "This is Paks," he said. "She'll march in Coben's file today, Corporal Bosk."

"Very good, sir. All right, recruits: form up." The other recruits shuffled into four lines of five persons each, except that the first file was one short. "Paks, you march here." Bosk pointed to the last place in the short file. "Now remember, at the command you all start off on the left foot, march in step, keep even with the rank on your right, and don't crowd the man ahead." Bosk walked around and through the group, shifting one or another an inch this way or that. Paksenarrion watched him curiously until he bawled suddenly, "Eyes front, recruits!" At last he was through fussing (as she thought to herself) and stepped back.

"Good enough, Bosk," said Stammel. "March 'em out."

For the first time in her life, Paksenarrion heard that most evocative of military commands as Bosk drew in a lungful of air and shouted: "Recruits. Forward... MARCH!"

The afternoon's march was only four hours, with two short rest-breaks, but when they halted, Paksenarrion was more tired than she had ever been. Besides the recruits, there were six regulars (Stammel, Bosk, and four privates) and four mules that carried the booth and supplies. In the course of the afternoon, they reviewed (and Paks learned) the correct way to form up, begin marching, and turn in column. She now knew her file number and who her file leader was, and had learned to keep an even distance behind the man in front. Tired as she was, she was in better shape than one of the puffy-faced men. He groaned and complained all afternoon, and finally fell in a faint at the last rest-break. When cold water failed to rouse him, two privates hoisted him over one mule's pack and lashed him there, face down. When he came to, he begged to walk, but Stammel left him there, groaning piteously, until they made camp.

Paksenarrion and the next newest recruit were set to dig the jacks trench at the camp. This was the tall yellow-haired boy; he told her his name was Saben. He had dug the night before, too, and knew how long to make the trench. As they walked back into camp, the tattooed man sneered, "Here come the ditchdiggers-look like a real pair, don't they?"

The man who'd fainted snickered appreciatively. "It took 'em long enough. I'd say they weren't just digging ditches."

Paksenarrion felt her ears steam, but before she got her mouth open, she saw Stammel, behind the others, shake his head at her. Then her file leader, a chunky dark youth named Coben, spoke up.


Excerpted from The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon 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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The Deed of Paksenarrion: Sheepfarmer's Daughter / Divided Allegiance / Oath of Gold 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My husband baught this book shortly after we were married and begged me for many yrs to read it.When we moved 3000 miles across country lacking anything to do I finally sat down and read the book.I was completly amazed at how captivating a book like that is .Im not a fantasy/sifi fan persay.I mainly stick to historical romances.But I could not put this book down.It had everything I enjoy in a good book.Suspence,mystery,romance,honor,fight for truth n rightiousness.I connected with the book and chars on a different level because Im an avid EverQuest player.And I found the life that Paks lead as a Paladin was much like the rule of play in the game EverQuest.Anyway I now reccomend this book to any who might listen.
new_tribe_counseling More than 1 year ago
I picked up the first book of this trilogy, Sheep Farmer's Daughter over 20 years ago, and I was hooked immediately. Part 2, Divided Allegiance gets a bit tedious at times, however Oath of Gold brings the series to a dramatic conclusion. Great character development combined with skillful story telling. Paks is a hero that anyone can identify with, especially women...she doesn't come from a wealthy, powerful, or famous family, but through her perseverance, humility, and dedication she makes a comeback from great adversity to, ahem, save the day. A year hasn't gone by since first picking up this trilogy that I haven't re-visited Paks!
StickFoster More than 1 year ago
I just turned 61, and I'm nearly done reading the Deeds of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon right now. I read this amazing fantasy trilogy once before, over 30 years ago. Since then, I've given a set to nearly every about-to-be-teenager I know. It's that meaningful, and it's that good. In fact, as I reread it now, I realize how much more awesome these books are than I originally thought. Three decades ago I would have said they were about courage and honor, and they are that; but, page after page, the word which comes to my mind now is "grace." As far as I know, "grace" has never been a weapon in the book reviewer's arsenal, but then I've never claimed to be much of a book reviewer. Fantasy, at its heart, is about good and evil. More to the point, it's about good versus evil, and the lines are generally well drawn. Perhaps they are even too well drawn. J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula LeGuin, C.S. Lewis and a host of others all pointed us toward good. Some, like Stephen Donaldson, even dared to show us the irredeemable, and suggest to us that there was hope for redemption even there. Elizabeth Moon went farther...way farther. She prompted her readers to aspire to grace. Grace as a gift received...and grace as a way of living. As far as I know, no one ever read any of the dozens of copies of Moon's trilogy I gave away, but that doesn't matter. My job is to be gracious, so today I'm going to order another set...just in case.
harleyrider1950 More than 1 year ago
This book, by Elizabeth Moon, is a wonderful book, on par with many of the "classic" fantasy fiction writings. Her description of Paks' growth from a farm girl to a paladin selected by the gods' themselves, makes for an interesting read. The description of military units and how they work together, as well as the way court intrigue plays out, gives a sense of reality to the story. The plot is well done throughout. One part of the plot seemed a stretch; however, overall this was a great read. I am enthusiastically waiting for the release of "Oath of Fealty", a continuation of Paksennarions' saga, that is due out in March.
jamespurcell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read these books along with my grand daughter when she was not even a teenager. She is now 17 and in the fall will go to Imperial College in London where she and her family have lived for 10 years. She enjoyed the books thoroughly and so did I. They tell a great story; never a bad thing for a writer, while raising social and moral issues that led to wonderful discussions which easily transcended our 50+ age difference. Should she have time to read them again, I would look forward to having the opportunity to do it again.
jshillingford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This trilogy more than gives the Dragonlance Chronicles a run for their money - and that is saying something! Moon is well-known for her military/scifi fiction, but with Paksenarrion she proves she is a master of fantasy as well.Paks wants more in her life than sheep. So, she sets out to join a mercenary band. Her bravery and determination win her a place among them, but the Soldier's god, Gird, has a greater destiny in store for her. Awesome!!
iftyzaidi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fairly well-written for what is in effect, someone's AD&D campaign world. Overall, this trilogy gets few points for world-building, imagination or writing style, but Paksenarrion's journey from sheep farmer's daughter to mercenary to knight-in-training to outcast to paladin hero is for the most part an engaging one. Its a pity that the supporting cast is so poorly drawn, the religious dogma over-wrought and the psychological potency of Paks' journey of self-discovery undermined by the simplistic good/evil division [if you worship the right god you are good, the wrong god and you are evil]. When all political and social strife is reduced to the machinations of evil men following the will of evil gods, the book loses a little something. Oh well.
TomMcGreevy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This consolidates three novels (Sheepfarmer's Daughter; Divided Allegiance; Oath of Gold) - a long tale and ultimately a good one. The characterization wasn't as strong as I would have liked - Paksenarrion herself lacked ambiguity which strains credulity. The saving grace is that the world Elizabeth Moon creates is complex and engaging and I may well read more of her books simply to get to know it better.
AnnaOok on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(No spoilers in this review, except possibly a minor one at the end which I've marked in advance)A very good classic fantasy trilogy, with great care to realism in detail and clearly well researched for late medieval warfare. The first book is entirely set within mercenary training and fighting; the other two follow the eponymous protagonist in her own separate adventures as well as within different fighting groups.As I kept reading, it became ever clearer that this book is based on straight Advanced Dungeons and Dragons rules, but I've never seen such a good job done of it. The rules are really not in-your-face: to the point that a friend I lent it to before I read it myself didn't spot it, though he knows the game as well as I do -- and recognised it once I'd pointed it out to him. The author keeps faithful to the rules while using her own creativity to write a story that is very far from a dungeon crawl (though there is one dungeon adventure) or a campaign write-up (though in a way the trilogy is one big campaign, with all the threads coming together at the end).I will certainly read the next book in this series -- it's next on my list!One final note about blood&sex which may involve a *** SPOILER *** (mild) to some, so read on at your peril: There's gore, as you'd expect on battlefields, but very little torture and no rape -- until one point in the last book, which I won't spoil but has fairly graphical physical torture, while the rape is only mentioned and not described. In the earlier books there are a couple of instances of attempted rape, and the torture is less detailed and doesn't involve the main characters the reader is likely to root for. Other than the violent instances mentioned, there is no sex at all in the whole trilogy.
coffeesucker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very good! I loved it!
utoxin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite mid-fantasy series, this omnibus is great to re-read on a regular basis. Moon really builds a believable character, and the hints and clues laced through the early part of the series make re-reads all the more enjoyable. I hope that someday, Moon returns to this world and tells further stories of Paksenarrion.
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an omnibus of a trilogy about a female warrior named Paksenarrion. * *** Sheep Farmer's Daughter. Paksenarrion runs away from home to avoid an unwanted marriage and joins Duke Phelan's army. She discovers that army life is both more and less than she'd expected, and that she has an aptitude for it. * ***½ Divided Allegiance. Paks has completed her initial enlistment, and, feeling increasingly dissatisfied, enters training to become a Palladin. * *** Oath of Gold. The culmination of The Hero's Journey--Paks first has to lose everything to achieve her destiny.The Deed of Paksenarrion was recommended to me by somebody, years ago, and had been in my TBR pile ever since. It's a trilogy, but the kind of trilogy like LotR--one really long story artificially cut up into separate volumes. So in that respect, it works best in the omnibus form. And to tell you the truth, the books really blurred into one another.It took me a while to figure out what was going on; what the whole point was for this trilogy. It's a Hero's Journey. There's no other point to it. It's simply a biography of the character of Paksenarrion--a laundry list of events from the time she decided to leave home until she fulfilled her destiny as a Palladin of the Gods. You can go through the books with a list of Hero's Journey steps and check them off clearly, in order, one by one.This might work, if I had any reason whatsoever to care about Paksenarrion becoming a Palladin. A lot of the reviews (and again, Amazon baffles me--144 reviews, averaging 4.5 stars--we obviously read different books again) compared it to LotR, but there's a huge difference: LotR had a Hero's Journey, true, but it also had an overarching plot. The journey in LotR took place within the context of returning the ring to Mt. Doom. There is no comparable plot to The Deed of Paksenarrion.It would also have been more effective for me if the characters were more engaging. If, for example, I'd met the character of Paksenarrion in a previous book, when she was already a Palladin, and this was a prequel showing how she got where she was. Perhaps there is such a book, written before, but taking place after The Deed of Paksenarrion. If so, I wish I'd read it first. It's a certainty I won't search it out now.I do enjoy military details, thankfully, so some of Paksenarrion's adventures were entertaining. The second book, where she came into her own as a warrior, was marginally more exciting. Unfortunately, that didn't last, and by the third book, I started feeling bashed over the head by the Hero's Journey concept.Her infallibility really started grating, as well. Even when things went wrong, as when her colleagues were killed, it was only because she couldn't save them because she was serving The Greater Good. Also tiresome was the fact that each separate adventure had little to nothing to do with the other adventures in the books.Two things would have saved this series for me: 1) a context in which to put the Hero's Journey. It could actually have been quite simple--if the evil she defeated at the end had been threatening her home at the beginning--it would have made the entire trilogy more coherent and given me a reason to want her to succeed. 2) Something other than gender to distinguish Paksenarrion from a generic Hero. She's asexual, succeeds at everything she does, and everyone except those who are evil or small-minded loves her. Give her a flaw or two, or make her have to choose between love and destiny. That would have been a story worth reading.
meersan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Highly rewarding portrayal of a paladin in a believable fantasy military setting. Not-so-believable every other scene ends with the character knocked unconscious. Convenient healing of injuries makes elaborate torture climax entirely pointless, if not prurient.
Poetgrrl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
oh please do get this book. LEARN something! elizabeth moon demonstrates the human potential, not just female, but all of us. compassion, wisdom, strength... it's all for the asking. she's a fabulous writer and makes a grrl belive she can be all that, and no dragon or magic sword is required. thank you, ms. moon!! (oh, and ... if you love tolkien-lore, i'm sure ye'll love it too)
jjmcgaffey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book, being three in one, has a _lot_ of story. The first book is relatively simple - the story of a runaway girl who becomes a mercenary, including details of training and battle that are immensely rich. There's a lot here that becomes more important later, but there's also a relatively simple and direct story being told. The second book veers wildly in tone and mood. Over the mountains and dealing with Macenion; Brewersbridge, with Marshall Oakhallow and Paks' first long exposure to Girdsmen, as well as her first independent command; Fin Panir and the specifics of her training; the quest and her capture; the aftermath, and ending in dark and cold. This is the book that shows most clearly its roots in both Tolkien and D&D - the exploration of the elfane taig, Arvid's request to join her, and the exploration of the ruin, are perfectly standard campaign tropes. Descriptions of corridors, random encounters, guardroom encounters.... And the cross-country hike to the Rangers, especially the elven waybread, was pure Tolkien. For that matter, the ending in darkness sounded familiar - doesn't Frodo similarly disappear at the end of one book? It is utterly depressing here - the first time I read the series, it took me a long time (a couple of years, I think) to go on from there into Oath of Gold. Then the third book, where a lot of things start coming together and making painful sense. First the healing, then her actions for the Duke - she disrupted several different plans of the Webmistress right there. Then the new quest, into Lyonya - some of her minor adventures on the way get to be important later. Figuring out the answer and proving it; convincing the lords and the elves to give it a chance; fighting, and other important encounters. And then telling him the truth about his ancestry - his reaction is funny because it's so right. Then - the whole last portion feels simultaneously like the culmination of all the threads which have been forming throughout the trilogy and like an anticlimax. I actually like the short story (elsewhere) that tells it from the POV of a thief better. Good solid conclusion, though.
laurai on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a whole, this is a really good book and quite addictive. Although the first book, especially the first couple chapters, have a vaguely amateurish feel (it is Moon's first novel), the author doesn't fall into a lot of the traps that amateur fantasy authors tend to fall into. Her heroine does not start off with good fighting skills or great wisdom--she needs to work for both. Elizabeth Moon doesn't flinch from making Paks look foolish or try (often) to keep bad things from happening to her. After all, some of the most interesting parts of the book occur when bad things are happening to Paks. However,I didn't really like the fact the book was MOSTLY from Paks' perspective, but there'd be occasional one-shot passages from another character's perspective. If you're going to switch perspectives, I think it works better artistically to do it often. If it's only in a few passages, it basically says that the author thought you needed to know what happened in that passage, but couldn't think of a way to communicate it through the protagonist's point of view.Having read _Surrender None_ and _Liar's Oath_, I can also say that Moon does a good job planning out the history of her world. The well-thought-out history helps explain why the life of the farmers in this world, while difficult, is not as miserable as that of serfs and peasants under historical feudalism. It is also important in order for Girdism to have the sense of realism and history that it does in these books.One of the most interesting things about these books, in fact, is its treatment of religion. Girdism becomes kind of a stand-in for Christianity or for any organized religion in these books. But it's also interesting and refreshing to see a polytheistic culture where even though people follow particular gods, other people's gods are respected unless they're, say, the god of torment. (Normal people don't really worship those gods.) When people try to convert others to their religion, they're not asking them to abandon their ancestral gods. Paks' doubts about Gird because he's not a traditional god of her family are an interesting part of the inner conflict of this book, and the extent to which she relies on and respects people following other religious paths (such as the Kuakgannir) is refreshing. Characters' sadness and anger about why Gird does not heal certain of his followers are dealt with maturely and sympathetically even if no one has a good answer to the question.Another thing I really liked about this book was its military accuracy. The drill is influenced by the military life that Elizabeth Moon is familiar with, but more important was the psychological realism--it dealt with survivor guilt and with PTSD/PTSD-like symptoms. I really liked its message of healing related to this.So if you're looking for a fantasy book that's both intelligent and addictive, I highly recommend this one.
Viggrmot More than 1 year ago
Fabulous. Book one is an entry, book two is a powerful and destructive tale, book three brings it together and makes us eager for the followups that took around 20 years. Strongest possible recommendation
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my top 10 books of all time. I have had many copies of this book, replaced as needed. The Story of Paks is an amazing one. The only thing that would make this book any better is if it was an e-book.
css3 More than 1 year ago
very,very good! well worth the purchase.
DuncanS More than 1 year ago
One of my all time favorite books
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