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Oath of FealtyOath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had forgotten just how much I love the world Paksenarrion lives in.

A few months ago Elizabeth Moon (reminder--she's a veteran) said something that got her in hot water with some of the fantasy/science fiction community. It was an honest comment, that read in full I didn't find that objectionable, but in sound bite was...not very PC. She got disinvited to WisCon (where she was originally slated as Guest of Honor), and the blogosphere went rather rabid for a bit. So I started reading her blog. Often it's about singing in her church choir. And cooking. And her, and her husband's health. And writing. This past year her new book, Kings of the North came out, and she was understandably enthusiastic. The more she wrote I realized that it was the second in a new set of books set in Paks's world. I had completely missed that she'd returned there, and frankly, after Surrender None, I'd sort of lost my taste for the world. This book, Oath of Fealty, is the first in the new sequence. So I got it as soon as I could devote the time to reading it.

Oath of Fealty is that rarest of books--the one where you want more detail, more dialogue, more description, even though it is richly textured, full of clear images, and conversations. It's just that when she changes scenes, you aren't ready to leave yet--you're having too good a time, you're so immersed in what's happening there, in that moment, that you don't want it to end. Who cares about moving the plot along! I want to sit around while Doran goes from village to village cleaning out the blood magic, no matter how "tedious" that might seem. I want to spend time with Kieri while he figures out the finances for Lyonya. I want to go with Jandolir when he goes to the bankers in each town, and listen to what they say, not just when it's moving the plot forward. Moon has made these people ones I want to spend time with, work with, support with word and deed. But for those who love plot, there's plenty. Ambush, and skullduggery, blood magics, and sword play. And loyalty, and growth, and people you can believe in.

When I finished the book it was with a real sense of emptiness--like leaving a beloved place. Fortunately, I have the next on order!

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 28th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC)
Which of her books should I start with?
May. 28th, 2011 06:59 pm (UTC)
I think the first Paksworld series is out in an omnibus edition, which makes it easier, but have a look at her website. She has several excellent series' out as well as the non-series works I mention below.
May. 28th, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC)
It depends on whether you want fantasy or scifi. If you're into a pre-industrial/feudal setting, then start with Paksenarrion (the first book is Sheepfarmer's Daughter http://www.amazon.com/Sheepfarmers-Daughter-Deed-Paksenarrion-Elizabeth/dp/0671654160). She deliberately wrote the new book so that you didn't need to have read any of The Deed of Paksenarrion (the name of the 1st trilogy), but I think you should. And, yes, it is out in omnibus, as are the prequels Surrender None and Liar's Oath. For me, The Deed of Paksenarrion was a complete game changer for my assumptions about women writers.

If you're into a mood for space opera, then you want Trading in Danger, the first volume of the Vatta's War series. It is also VERY good.

I regret to say I haven't read any of the ones Madinia mentions.

May. 28th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
I love all of her work. I highly recommend:

Remnant Population
Ofelia, an elderly colonist most of whose family died on the colony planet, does not want to be transported somewhere else when the company loses its franchise on the planet where she's spent 40+ years. She evades the evacuation and expects to live out her life alone, the only person on the planet. For the first time in her long life, no one is telling her what to do, what to wear, how to spend her life--and she has a chance to discover who she really is.

Then she finds out who else lives on the planet, and circumstances force her to start caring once more what others think.

The Speed of Dark
Lou is a high-functioning autistic adult who has made a good life for himself and is, he thinks, content. But a new manager in the pharmaceutical firm for which he works decides to put pressure on the unit that employs autistic persons. Lou is pressured to undergo an experimental treatment that might "cure" the autism he doesn't think needs curing, or risk losing his job--and certainly the accommodations the company has put in place for its autistic employees.
May. 28th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC)
I love Elizabeth Moon.
May. 29th, 2011 12:32 am (UTC)
Surrender None is her book she likes the least she wrote it while her father was dieing and said it was a contractual obglation and since it was her 4-5 book she didnt have enough clout to get out of the contrat. she says its not very good.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )