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Marilee J. Layman

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04:19 pm: The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon

I have all of Moon's books except this series. I'm not fond of fantasy, and even good SF writers can write bad fantasy. But another book came out in the series and I started looking deeper into it and decided to read it.

This book is a trilogy omnibus (omnibused trilogy?) and has 1024 pages. I had to use some towels to help support it in place. As usual, it had a lot of good blurbs on it, and Judith Tarr said Moon had "taken the work of Tolkien, assimilated it totally and deeply and absolutely, and produced something altogether new..."

The first book, Sheepfather's Daughter, actually reminded me more of Mary Gentle's Ash" -- this is four paperbacks in the US. It looks like fantasy, but if you read all of it, it's SF.

Paks, the sheepherder's daughter, wants to be a soldier, so she runs away from her home and joins a mercenary company. She becomes a great soldier. They fight a lot, mostly for good, but sometimes for bad. She may have some healing powers (the only real fantasy in this book), she doesn't know. But when a difficult war ends and the company is going to work for a bad man, Paks arranges to leave.

The second book, Divided Allegiance, see Paks heading for a Duke's realm to give his wife a scroll and in the process, she saves an elf, meets a kuakgun, who is a kind of nature being, and moves on to training at Fin Panir. Fin Panir is a place where religious knights are trained -- their god is Gird. She again moves quickly to the top of the slates, making the titled boys upset. They're looking for paladin candidates and ask her to be one. She makes a trip to a far land and is captured by evil elves who make her fight orcs and other bad creatures. She's saved by her companions, but isn't quite right. When they get back to Fin Panir, her brain has been damaged by evil. Gird's Marshal-General does her best to heal Paks, but Paks suffers cowardice and even looking at a sword scares her. The Marshal-General asks her to stay with them, but Paks can't stand being there anymore and leaves. She tries jobs, but her cowardice and fear makes people fire her.

The third book, Oath of Gold, finds Paks back in the village with the kuakgan who hasn't seen her so damaged -- physically and mentally -- and is worried about her. He gradually makes her body stronger and heals that part of her. Then he heals her mind and in the process, she sees three gods who will help her. After that, she accidently makes a light off her finger. Yes, she's become an unaligned paladin. She's given a quest by Gird, to find the prince of Lyonya, who was lost many years before. Lyonya is a half-elf, half-human land, but humans have been pushing the elves out. She has many contacts with bad people, including five days and nights of vivid torture, and not only finds the prince, but gets him safely to Lyonya.

The second two books are more fantasy-like, but not the sappy kind. I have the next two in an omnibus, plus the new one, and I'm going to read two of the Richard Jury books before I start the next two.

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Comments

From:markiv1111
Date:July 21st, 2010 11:11 pm (UTC)

Paksenarrion

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I tried the first three books at one point. I am not really into this kind of fantasy, and it is really amazingly to Moon's credit that I managed to get through 2 1/4 books. (My attention span, with regards to long books, simply doesn't always hold up.) I found Paks to be very sympathetic, and the changes in her life and her perspective as the story unfolded to be very credible, and to play fair with the reader. I'm not sure if I'll ever get through the third, and it will be pretty remarkable if I ever sit down to read another trilogy, as I have learned not to push my attention span that hard. But please note from me this is a *positive* response, not a negative one. Also note: These were Moon's first published works.

Nate
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From:mjlayman
Date:July 22nd, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)

Re: Paksenarrion

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Yeah, I knew it was Moon's first books, and you have to expect some problems there. One thing that was annoying was the map (probably meant to be in the first book) -- it looked somewhat like the east coast to midwest of the US, but about half of the first book, and all of the next two books, took place elsewhere in the land than on that map.
(no subject) - (Anonymous)
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From:mjlayman
Date:July 22nd, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
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There's the two books between Deed and Oath, and you're meant to read those before Oath. At least that's what's being said. Oath is set earlier than the others, but she wants you to read it last.
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From:mjlayman
Date:July 29th, 2010 12:51 am (UTC)
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I have half of this wrong. The Legacy of Gird is a prequel and the Oath of Fealty is a sequel, but she does want you to read them in the order they were published: Deed, Legacy, and Oath.
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From:engarian
Date:July 22nd, 2010 09:18 am (UTC)

Deeds of Paksenarrion

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I remember these books very fondly. I always liked the fact that it was a strong female protagonist and that she didn't rely on men to accomplish her own life. I also liked the fact that she ended up as an unaligned paladin. I've recommended these to several people over the years.

- Sandra
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From:mjlayman
Date:July 22nd, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)

Re: Deeds of Paksenarrion

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Have you read Moon's SF? Also have strong female protagonists; I really like those.
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From:engarian
Date:July 24th, 2010 12:53 am (UTC)

Re: Deeds of Paksenarrion

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Oh yes. Over the years I've read most of what Moon has written. She tells a strong tale and I like her writing style.
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From:mjlayman
Date:July 24th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)

Re: Deeds of Paksenarrion

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I agree, which is why I was willing to try Paks.
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