Saturday, June 27, 2009
Uncle Ben's Book Blog: The Sharing Knife: Vol. 1: Beguilement
I just finished listening to this on CD today. I had read it previously, but had enjoyed it, and when I saw it at the library, figured I'd listen to it. Sometimes you pick up things listening to a book that you didn't pick up reading it.
To set the context: This is fantasy, set in a world where some centuries prior to the start of this story, the world was much more populous, and a class of sorcerers ruled. In the course of time, as people will, they went to war, and for this war they created a sort of creature called a malice which sucks the life out the area where it resides. The war ended, and the malice was killed, but not without it having left "eggs" all around. After several centuries, bringing us to the time of the story, the much reduced population is divided into lakewalkers and farmers. The lakewalkers are probably descendants of the sorcerers, and they have a sort of sixth sense (called "groundsense") that enables them to locate malices that have hatched and begun to prey upon the surrounding country. Thus the lakewalkers spend their time on regular patrols, trying to find malices and kill them before they get too big. The farmers are farmers and small town and city folk. They don't trust the lakewalkers, considering them to be practicioners of black magic, though they call on them in time of need. In like manner, the lakewalkers don't much care for the farmers, treating them as if they were children, though sworn to protect them from the malices.
The story: A farmer girl named Fawn has left home because she is pregnant by a neighbor boy who now doesn't want anything to do with here, because he is pledged in marriage to another girl from a wealthier family, which will raise the status of his own family. Fawn is headed to the city of Glassforge to seek her fortune. In the process, she runs into a lakewalker patrol, and becomes involved in the killing of a malice. In the process of this, due to the malice, she miscarries. She also meets one of the lakewalker patrolers (Dag) who saves her life. This first volume in the series (it is now up to four: vol. 2 is Legacy; vol. 3 is Passage; and vol. 4 [now in print] is Horizon) takes Fawn and Dag from their meeting to their return to her home, their marriage, and ends with their headed to his family.
All in all a highly recommended fantasy series (I also generally recommend other titles by the author, Lois McMaster Bujold).