Marilee J. Layman (mjlayman) wrote,
Marilee J. Layman
mjlayman

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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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