REVIEW: The Sharing Knife: Legacy by Lois McMaster Bujold
Dear Ms. Bujold:
I shared in my previous letter to you regarding Beguilement that I had never read you before despite many romance readers claiming you as their favorite “cross over” author. Yesterday, Janet and Janine, wroet about cross pollenization or the blending of genres together to create a more magnetic, fulfilling whole. In the duology, The Sharing Knife, I think you represent the goal of cross pollenization. The world building is particularly fine, full and rich with detail. There wasn’t a moment during the story that I felt I was reading a modern story in burlap clothing. Set amongst this rich backdrop is familiar romance yarn: two individuals of disparate backgrounds must decide whether being together is worth forsaking all else.
Fawn and Dag have married and are embarking on the final leg of their wedding journey home to meet Dag’s family who are located at the Hickory Lake Camp. While Fawn’s family gave reluctant approval to her and Dag’s union, Dag’s family is less than thrilled with Dag’s mother leading a faction of the camp against them.
In the midst of the conflict at home, Dag is forced to leave Fawn and fight a malice uprising. Dag is tired of the fighting, both with his family and with the malices. He’s convinced, having been with Fawn and seen her goodness and that of members of her family, that the Lakewalkers and the farmers should be working together instead of fostering mistrust and hatred toward each other.
Of all the vileness in this long struggle, the malices’ mind-theft of people who should be the Lakerwalkers’ friends and allies was the worst. Even when the patrollers won, they lost, in the clashes that left farmer corpses in their wake. We all lose. Dag shook out his throbbing hand. That might have been Sorrel. Somebody’s husband, father, father-in-law, friend.
I hate fighting. Oh, Fawn, I’m so tired of this.
It’s no wonder that Dag loves Fawn so. As Fawn spends more time at the Hickory Lake Camp, she begins to come into her own. In the space of two books, Fawn develops from girl-child to woman, learning while Dag is gone that she can, and must, stand for herself. “She didn’t have to cling to Dag like a drowning woman clutching the only branch in the torrent.” Fawn recognizes that what Dag needs from her is for her to love him, Dag, for nothing more than being Dag. “Everybody, it seeemed, wanted Dag for something. . . . Didn’t anyone want Dag just for Dag? Without justification, like a milkweed or a water lily or, or . . . a summer night with fireflies.”
The world is changing and Dag and Fawn, simplistically, represent that change. Together, they represent the best of their societies, not because they are the best but because they are willing to work together to save farmers, Lakewalkers and each other. Together, they form a perfect union, with each a half of a better whole.
In the true spirit of cross pollinization, you have crafted a wonderful romance and a unique other world setting that would seem to be able to satisfy both the romance reader and the fantasy reader. A-.